Department of Commerce to set up a dedicated trade promotion body

To set up a future-ready administration geared towards the target of $2 trillion exports by 2030, the Department of Commerce has decided to set up a dedicated trade promotion body to drive overall promotion strategy, export targets, and execution as part of a restructuring exercise.

The trade promotion body will formulate and drive overall trade promotion strategy; create and drive India’s branding across focus markets and sectors; drive coordinated action across missions, states and export promotion councils; strategic initiatives, including advisory and buyer-seller meet; and develop digital platforms for exporters and buyers.

Based on a 14-volume ‘restructuring dossier’ by the Boston Consulting Group, the commerce department has already implemented some of the recommendations.

Business Standard first reported on August 7 that the commerce department has restructured the organisation separating multilateral and bilateral trade-negotiating divisions to allow greater focus on ongoing talks for free-trade deals.

Releasing the dossiers which are yet to be made public, Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said as part of the Karmayogi mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reskill and reform Indian bureaucracy, various departments are being restructured.

“Commerce department is privileged to be first off the block. Our officers worked painstakingly to visualise and recreate what the Department of Commerce should look like to be able to meet the needs of the future and as an immediate task to take the $675 billion exports in 2021-22 to $2 trillion by 2030. If we can have a $2 trillion export by 2030, it will change the way India engages with the world,” he added.

In the revamped structure, Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) will be positioned as a nodal entity to carry out trade regulation and facilitation. An e-governance division is proposed in DGFT to ensure sharp focus on digitisation of internal and exporter-focused processes.

“The DGFT today is also engaged in trade promotion along with trade policy, data analytics, and dissemination of data. Its role will now be categorised in different buckets. DGFT will focus on trade logistics and infra strategy, regulation and compliance of trade policy, scheme implementation and monitoring, risk monitoring and e-governance,” said Goyal.

Under the new structure, Indian Trade Service (ITS) will house all expertise on trade matters in the Department of Commerce ecosystem with lateral entry of experts from the private sectors.

“The ITS which is a very reputed and valued service with several officers in DGFT can also infuse new talent, both through government recruitment and from the private sector, so that they can have multi-functional teams working in the Department of Commerce. This will lead to institutional memory being created so that as officers keep coming and going, long-term institutional memory is retained in the department and we will be able to engage with the world from a position of strength with significant lessons learnt from history,” said Goyal.

The commerce department plans to overhaul the data and analytics ecosystem via centralised data management and embedded analytics capabilities.

A Trade Intelligence & Analytics wing is proposed to be set up for in-house analytics and dissemination capabilities. Trade Watch Tower within the wing will proactively identify market risks and opportunities.

“Our Indian missions abroad will play an increasingly active role for market intelligence, research, and handholding Indian exporters and business persons,” added Goyal.

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