Trade Agreement with GCC



Trade Agreement with GCC 

India is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). 

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of six (06) countries - Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain & Qatar. So far two rounds of negotiations have been held. The first round was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 21st – 22nd March, 2006 and the second was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 9th – 10th September, 2008. The third round of negotiations was to be held in India during 2009, as per the decision taken during the 2nd round of negotiations. However, GCC Secretariat informed that the negotiations with all countries and economic groups, have been deferred until GCC States completely reviews the issue of negotiations. It was further informed that the Secretariat General would inform India, the appropriate date to resume negotiations, as soon as GCC countries decide in the matter. 


During the course of negotiations, the views of concerned Departments are obtained in taking a decision regarding tariff concessions, if any, to be granted. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 
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Incentives to Special Economic Zones 

The fiscal concessions and duty benefits allowed to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are in built into the SEZs Act, 2005 and Rules thereunder. These exemptions are uniformly applicable to all SEZs and are in the nature of incentives for export and are consistent with the principles that guide export promotion initiatives of the Government in general. 

Ongoing review and reform, as necessary, of Government policy and procedure is inherent to Public Policy. The Government, on the basis of inputs/suggestions received from stakeholders on the policy and operational framework of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Scheme, periodically reviews the policy and operational framework of SEZs and is presently engaged in inter-ministerial consultations for finalization of a proposal to make dual utilization of facilities in Non-Processing Area of SEZs by both SEZ as well as DTA entities. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 
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Foreign Trade 

The foreign trade (export+import) has increased from 42 billion US $, in 1990-91 to 765 billion US$ in the year 2013-14 with an annual average growth rate of 13.42% and has increased 18 folds during the period. 

The gap, between value of import and export, which is Trade deficit, has also increased during the said period. The trade deficit has increased from 6 billion US $ in 1990-91 to 136 billion US $ in 2013-14. Foreign trade i.e. exports and imports are influenced by a number of macroeconomic factors of the country and the world, like demand and supply, exchange rates, economic conditions of different countries. 

Top 10 countries, which have imported more from India than exported to India during 2013-14 are USA, Singapore, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, U.K., Kenya, Nepal, Vietnam etc. whereas during 1990-91 such countries were USSR, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Mauritius, Spain, Afghanistan, Nigeria etc. 

The details of country wise Exports and Imports and quantity are available in the DGCI&S publication in CD form namely ‘Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India’ Vol. I (Exports) & Vol.II (Imports). Such CD’s are regularly sent to Parliament Library by DGCI&S, Kolkata. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 
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Export by Small and Medium Pharmaceutical Manufacturers 

For technology up-gradation to Micro and Small Enterprises in the pharma sector, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) is running Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme (CLCSS) under which Micro and Small Enterprises are entitled to take loan upto Rs. 1.00 crore with 15% subsidy. 

Drugs for sale or for export are manufactured under license granted by State Licensing Authorities appointed by State governments. Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has not received any such information that majority of small pharmaceutical manufacturers are doing job work/contract work for bigger pharmaceutical units which export the same under their brand name. 

Some of the measures taken by the Government to promote exports by small and medium Pharmaceutical manufacturers are : 

i) Financial assistance through Pharmexcil, an Export Promotion Council, is provided under Market Development Assistance and Market Access Initiative Schemes to exporters of Pharmaceutical products particularly small and medium size exporters to promote their exports in various countries. 

ii) Trade Delegations/Buyer Seller Meets (BSMs) to various countries are organized, where One-to-One meetings with local buyers/importers , FDA/Regulatory officials are arranged for the benefit of exporters. 

iii) Participate in International exhibitions and assist small and medium scale companies by way of providing space in those exhibitions at reasonable costs. 

iv) Business Meets are organized in India by inviting buyers/importers/FDA officials to India and one-to-one meetings are arranged. These meets help the industry, particularly small and medium exporters. 

v) Pharmexcil organizes its own Expo in India viz. IPHEX every year, which is helping the small and medium exporters. 

vi) Pharmexcil has separate Cells/desks for IPR and AYUSH sector to help the small and medium exporters. 

vii) Incentives to Pharmaceutical industry are available in various trade promotion schemes like Focus Market Scheme, Focus Product Scheme, and Advance Authorization Scheme etc. in the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) which also helps the Small and Medium exporters for promoting their exports. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 
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Export Through Micro, Small and Medium Industries 


The share/ contributions of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the export of the country are as follows:

Sl. No.
Year
MSME Export
(US$ Million)
Share of MSME in India’s Total Export
1.
2011-12
1,31,483
43%
2.
2012-13
1,28,162
43%
3.
2013-14
1,33,364
42%

Government has been implementing various schemes/ programmes to increase the exports of MSME sector. Some of these schemes/ programmes include National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP); Credit Guarantee Scheme; Credit Linked Capital subsidy Scheme; Cluster Development Programme; Market Development Assistance Scheme and Vendor Development Programme for Ancillarisation.

The exporters including MSMEs can either avail the facility of duty free raw materials under Advance Authorisation Scheme or Duty Free Import Authorisation Scheme or alternatively may get back duty suffered/ paid by them under Duty Drawback Scheme. The systems are online and time bound.

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

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Awareness About Filing Patents 

Patent applications filed by Indian applicants was 25 percent of the total number of applications filed in the year 2013-14 as compared to 22 percent in the year 2012-13 and 20 percent in the year 2011-12. The factors responsible for low percentage of patent applications filed by Indian applicants may include the lack of awareness about the patent system and its benefits, lack of proper planning by Indian industry for building of patent portfolio and lack of modern research facilities in Indian industry. 

The office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) has taken many proactive steps to increase awareness among the Indian industry / citizens. During the year 2013-14, the office of CGPDTM conducted 28 awareness programmes, sent its officers as Resource Persons to 96 awareness programmes organized by World Intellectual Property Offices (WIPO), Universities, Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and Industry Associations and organized 12 such programmes in association with Industry Associations especially for small industry clusters. In 2014-15, so far the office of CGPDTM has organized or participated in 81 such programmes including 6 seminars in collaboration with WIPO, Knowledge Expo at Delhi, Design Summit in collaboration with National Design Institute (NID), 10 programmes in collaboration with State Governments. Also, the office of CGPDTM sent its officers as Resource Persons to 49 such programmes conducted by other organizations. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 
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Area Norms Under NIMZs 

The National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) prescribes a minimum area of 5000 hectares for establishing National Investment & Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs). In order to enable the manufacturing industry clusters outside NIMZs to avail the benefits/dispensations under the NMP, the Government of India has circulated the definition of cluster, guidelines and dispensations for cluster to States. Government of Tamil Nadu requested for relaxation of the minimum area norm for their proposal to create three new manufacturing zones and extend the benefits of NIMZs to these zones as well as to the existing industrial clusters in Tamil Nadu. Government of Tamil Nadu has been informed that since the area stipulated under NMP for setting up of NIMZ is minimum 5000 hectares, their proposal do not qualify for approval as NIMZ. These zones may be developed by Government of Tamil Nadu as industrial clusters to avail of the benefits under NMP as per the guidelines and dispensations for cluster notified to States. Government of Haryana requested that the size of a NIMZ be reduced to about 1000 hectares. Government of Haryana has been informed that Manesar-Bawal Investment Region of Haryana in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor has already been designated as an NIMZ and the dispensations under the NMP will therefore be available to the said zone. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 
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Compulsory Licensing on Patented Drugs 

So far, one Compulsory License has been granted by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks for the anti-cancer drug containing the compound ‘Sorafenib Tosylate’ which is used for treatment of kidney and liver cancer to a drug manufacturing company, namely M/s Natco Pharma Ltd. The grant is under section 84 of the Patent Act, 1970 (as amended). The patent was originally granted to M/s Bayer Corporation, USA by the Indian Patent Office. 

Compulsory license provisions are enshrined in the Patents Act and these provisions will be implemented in a situation befitting the issue. 

In January, 2013, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare forwarded to this Department, minutes of the meeting of the Committee set up under that Ministry for invoking provisions of Compulsory Licensing of Drugs in India in which it was recommended to put three drugs namely Herceptin, Dasatinib and Lxabepilone under Compulsory Licensing as per the provisions of Section 92 of the Patents Act, 1970. The said recommendations were examined in detail in this Department and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was requested to furnish the relevant information. Subsequently patent on Herceptin was not renewed by the patentee and lxabepilone was considered unsafe by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was requested to furnish further information on Dasatinib. 

This information was given by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply in Lok Sabha today. 

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Improvement in PDS is one of Government's key priorities 

Strengthening and streamlining of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is a continuous endeavour. To improve functioning of TPDS, Government has been regularly issuing advisories and holding meetings, conferences, etc. wherein State/UT Governments are requested for review of lists of beneficaries, improving the offtake of allocated foodgrains, ensuring timely availability of foodgrains at Fair Price Shops (FPSs), greater transparency in functioning of TPDS, improved monitoring and vigilance at various levels, improving the viability of FPS operations, etc. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today. 

The Minister said that the National Food Security Act, 2013, notified on 10.09.2013, also contains measures for reforms in TPDS, to be undertaken progressively by the Central and State/UT Governments. These reforms inter alia include door-step delivery of foodgrains at the FPS, application of information and communication technology tools including end to end computerisation, preference to public institutions/bodies in licensing of FPSs, etc. 

He said that Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2001 notified by the Government mandates the State and UT Governments to carry out all required action to ensure smooth functioning of TPDS. PDS (Control) Order, 2001 also empowers State/UT Governments to take punitive action under clauses 8 & 9 in case of contravention of relevant provisions of the Order. If any person contravenes any provisions of this Order under clauses 3,4,6 and 7, he shall be liable to punishment under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act. Action in cases of blackmarketing of foodgrains is also taken by States/UTs under the Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980. 

He added as per information received from the States/UTs, 124 detentions have been made in 2014 (upto 30.11.2014) in the cases of blackmarketing of essential commodities. State of Tamil Nadu has made 107 detentions while State of Gujarat has made 17. 

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Measures to reduce pendency of cases in the consumer courts 

The pendency in Consumer Fora is due to various reasons such as increased number of cases caused by growing Consumers’ awareness, strict implementation of due process of adjudication, scope for multiple appeals and vacancy of incumbents in certain States/UTs. This information was given by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.
       
The Minister said that Government has taken the following measures to reduce pendency of cases in the consumer courts.

(1)         State Governments have been requested from time to time to take action well in advance for filling up of vacancies of President and Members and to maintain a panel of candidates for filling up of future vacancies also to avoid delay in appointments.
(2)         Circuit Benches from National Commission have been frequently visiting States.
(3)         Some State Commissions have constituted Additional Benches mainly to dispose off backlog of pending cases.
(4)     The National Commission and some of the State Commissions as well as District Fora are adopting the process of holding Lok Adalats for speedy disposal of the cases.
(5)     Financial assistance is provided by the Central Government to the States/UTs for strengthening of infrastructure of Consumer Fora including computerization and networking.

Total Number of Consumer Complaints filed/disposed since inception under Consumer Protection Law.
        (Updated on 04.12.2014)

Sl.
No.
Name of Agency
Cases filed since inception
Cases disposed of since inception
Cases Pending
% of total disposal
1.
National Commission
92481
81039
11442
87.63%
2.
State Commissions
661295
570184
91111
86.22%
3.
District Forums
3482728
3213497
269231
92.27%

TOTAL
4236504
3864720
371784
91.22%

Trade Agreement with GCC Trade Agreement with GCC Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 7:12 PM Rating: 5

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