Commerce ministry to seek cabinet nod for transportation of goods Bill

New Delhi: The commerce ministry will soon approach the Union Cabinet to seek approval for the proposed Multi-Modal Transportation of Goods Bill, 2019, (MMTG) which seeks to facilitate smooth movement of products for domestic consumption as well as foreign trade.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal also said that the national logistics policy 2019 is being finalised and, soon, they will seek the Cabinet’s nod for that as it aims at cutting logistics cost cut by one-third.

Stepping up
“We have finalised the Multi-Modal Transportation of Goods Bill, 2019, and soon we will take that up with the Cabinet. It will help in faster movement of consignments for exports, imports and domestic trade,” he told reporters here. Multimodal transportation includes a combination of more than one mode of movement, such as rail, road or sea, for end-to-end delivery of goods. After getting the Cabinet’s approval, the Bill will be laid in Parliament for approval. It would repeal the existing MMTG Act 1993.

The minister also said MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and start-ups would get concessions in filing patents, copyrights and trademark applications. “Soon, we will announce that to give more concessions to them,” he said. He added that a separate cell for MSMEs will be set up at the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) to help them file applications for dumping cases. The ministry would provide free services to them as it costs more to hire lawyers and do data collection.

Trade remedy measures
He said the ministry is studying rules of all other countries pertaining to trade remedy measures like anti-dumping duties and “then, we will align the rule of India”. “In the next 10 days, we will take a decision on this,” he said adding that because of lesser duty rule, India is not able to take measures in full fairness. He also said a decision would soon be taken to provide easy export credit to exporters.

Goyal also hoped that because of the recent liberalisation of foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in certain sectors, India can attract large-scale manufacturing. When asked about the time line for issuance of press notes, notifying the recently announced FDI relaxations in certain sectors, DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra said, “We are waiting for the Cabinet resolution to come. Press notes are ready”. The government has recently liberalised FDI norms in contract manufacturing, single-brand retail trading, and coal mining.

Simplifying procedures
The government is looking at simplifying procedures and making available funds at competitive rates to exporters with a view to boost the country’s shipments, Goyal said on Wednesday. When asked whether the government is working on a package for exporters, he said, “Simplification and ensuring that they do not have roadblocks is the biggest package that exporters want.”

Goyal said his ministry has held series of meetings with exporters to understand their issues. The minister will be chairing a meeting of the Board of Trade on Thursday. In the meeting, the board will seek views of its members, including government departments, states, exporters and industry members on ways to boost exports of goods and services.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will also address the board. “Their (exporters’) need is easier access to funds, funds at affordable prices. They are looking at facilitation on export-import, easier paper work and those are the directions on which government is working,” Goyal told reporters here.