Friday, Sep 03, 2004
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By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, SEPT. 2. Close on the heels of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Thailand, India is preparing to sign similar agreements with ASEAN and South African countries for which the process of dialogue has already begun.
Announcing this during the Interactive Meeting with the members of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the Union Industry and Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, categorically stated that the United Progressive Alliance Government would make sure that no taxes and duties were exported henceforth.
In a major initiative in this direction, he said that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry would be initiating extensive dialogue with all the Chief Ministers to evolve a consensus to facilitate scrapping of such state levies that come in the way of the export growth.
The consensus approach on elimination of State levies will be submitted to the full-fledged National Development Council meeting scheduled to be held in January next year under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, he said.
In fact, Mr. Kamal Nath said he had already started taking up the matter of removing State levies with the State governments from today itself as he had already met one of the Chief Ministers of a State and convinced him about the removal of the State levies such as mandi tax and octroi.
According to him, the Government will notify the lifting of service tax on the exporters shortly as part of its commitment to persuade States not to impose unwarranted levies as such levies will result into curtailment of the export proceeds.
Reacting to the proposal mooted by Assocham President, Mahendra K. Sanghi, Mr. Kamal Nath announced doubling the focus of India on exports to Africa and the ASEAN region and wanted the Assocham to evolve strategies and submit it to the Government so that similar focus was also laid on other regions to effectively tap the export potential.
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