Trade promotion bodies to boost export
Md. Joynal Abdin
The Independent on October 22, 2009
There is no doubt that India our largest neighbour is growing faster than many other economies of the world. It has emerged as a potential economic power and a key player in the global and regional organisations like the UN, WTO, WB and ADB. The Indians have specially developed a very strong trade promotion framework to promote their economy boosting up export and competing with other economic powers like China, Brazil and Russia. The key Indian trade promotion organisations are working to advance their economy.
Indian has developed a six-tier trade promotion framework. In the first tier they have the ministry of commerce with a group of well-defined divisions: Economics, Trade Policy, Foreign Trade Territorial, Export Products, Export Service and Export Industries. The Economic division works for evolving and directing
Foreign trade policy and programmes, maintains commercial relations with other countries, takes various trade promotion and regulatory measures and conducts state trading activities. Trade policy division is responsible for keeping abreast of developments in international organisational like WTO, World Bank, IMF, EU, NAFTA, and other regional groupings, besides looking after non–tariff barriers that Indian exporters are facing from different countries, negotiating to overcome the barriers with concerned governments and lobbying to open up international facilities like GSP. The foreign trade territorial division works to develop trade with different countries and regions of the world. It organises trade fairs and exhibitions at home and abroad and maintains contacts with trade missions abroad. The export products division pays attention to the problems of marketing connected with production of various export oriented products or groups of products. The export service division deals with export assistance, various incentives such as EEFC A/C, MDA, SEZ, quality control and Pre-shipment inspection and other organisational services.
With all these divisions the Indian Commerce Ministry has a number of departments to assist their activities. There is the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) responsible for execution of import and export policies; and the Board of Trade set up to ensure that the various counsels of commercial interests are available to the government for framing and formulating export promotion and import policies. It is the highest forum for government–industry interface on trade policy issues with representatives from Chambers of Commerce, Trade Associations Presidents of FICCI, ASSOCHAM, CII, FASSI, FIEO, etcetera.
Export Promotion Council: The EPC is a non-profit organisation operating with funding from government and with membership fees. They advise the Indian government regarding current developments in export sector and provide measures necessary to facilitate future growth in export. They also assist manufacturers and exporters to overcome various constraints and extend to them the full range of services for the development of new markets overseas.
Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC): They works to apprise the Indian government of exporters’ problems, to keep members posted in regard to trade enquiries and opportunities, to help in exploration of overseas markets and identification of items with export potentials, to render assistance on specific problems confronting individual exporters and to help resolve amicably disputes between exporters and importers. The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade provides training of high standard, short term and long term for executives and personnel employed in trade and industry, export houses, export organisations, government departments, government trading corporation, Indian missions for developing specialisation in the techniques, methods and procedures of international trade.
The institute sponsors candidates selected from industry and trade, trading houses, government departments for higher training abroad in foreign trade management and export techniques and for acquiring first hand knowledge of the techniques and procedures adopted by advanced countries in export marketing. It conducts marketing research and area surveys in foreign countries to ascertain the characteristics of the overseas markets and consumer preferences, assesses the current and potential demand for Indian products and determines the scope and techniques to be adopted for increased absorption of Indian products in these countries.
India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO): Its main objective is promoting exports and imports through the medium of fairs held in India and abroad. Mobilisation of foreign participation for trade fairs is being organised in India. It provides assistance in space booking, customs clearance and other detailed arrangements like stand erection, decoration and publicises ITPO participation in international fairs. It also invites buyers, government officials and representatives of industry associations to Indian pavilion at various fairs. In addition there is follow-up enquiries of buyers’ visit and India’s participation in trade fairs abroad. Furthermore, its task is to provide feedback on India’s participation in international trade fairs, procure samples for product development and adaptation, besides arranging visits of designers, experts and consultants for product development and adaptation.
National Centre for Trade Information (NCT): Provides latest trade, business and economic information. It has high speed NICNET – National Information Highway for collection and dissemination of information, the network is connected to 160 countries of the world. The centre acts as a promotional and operational agency and helps synergies the efforts of different organisations presently engaged in the collection, processing, analysis and dissemination of trade and commerce information.
Export Credit & Guarantee Corporation (ECGC): In the context of growing competition in international markets, no exporter can manage without selling goods on credit. Giving credit poses two problems to an exporter: finding enough money to offer credit to overseas buyers, and to be prepared to take the credit risk. ECGC also provides guarantees to the financing banks to enable them to provide adequate finance to exporters. Indian Council of Arbitration: The arbitration works to promote and encourage amicable settlement of foreign trade disputes with a view to generate goodwill in the field of foreign trade.
Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO): An apex body – a common and co-ordinating platform for various export organisations including the commodity councils and service institutions and organisations. Main functions of FIEO are to convene meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops, maintaining overseas liaison with international organisations like UN agencies – ITC, WTO, IMF, WB, ILO, etcetera and establishing rapport with overseas chambers of commerce.
Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics: It is responsible for collection, compilation and publication of statistics of trade as well as publication of Directory of Exporters and Manufacturers of export products and publication of monthly statistics of import and exports. It also works for identification of possible problems of trade abroad.
Now how many organisational set-ups do Bangladesh have to deal with its trade and development. We have Ministry of Commerce with the following subordinate organisations.
Export Promotion Bureau (EPB): The EPB works to promote our products abroad by organising participation in foreign exhibitions, and issuing rules of origin, organising training for exporters and keeping export statistics record. In comparison with the Indian side we see that EPB works with limited resources. As a result professionalism may not be fully possible in the activities of the EPB.
Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC): BTC works to protect local industries against the successive competition from foreign companies. It prepared input papers for the ministry of commerce regarding WTO, RTA and FTA related matters. It is also conducting more tasks than that of two Indian organisations.
Office of Chief Controller of Imports and Exports (CCI&E): Issues export and import registration, one of its major activities. Its counterpart the Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade office does the same. In addition both the organisations are responsible for export and import policy preparation and implementation.
Bangladesh Tea Board: The Board works to regulate, control and promote the cultivation, sale and export of tea; to control and improve the quality of tea; to conduct comprehensive scientific and technological research to raise the productivity of tea and improve its quality; to register tea estates with the Board and grant licenses to the planters, manufacturers and other dealers engaged in the business of tea.
Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms: Responsible for regulatory registration and name clearance of the companies, societies, and any other organisation.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB): The TCB works to carry on the business of imports and exports in accordance with the policy of the government from time to time. It works to arrange for the sale and distribution of the imported goods and to appoint dealers or agents, etcetera for this purpose according to government directives. Institute of Cost and Management
Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB): Produces high quality executives for the companies.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB): Produces Chartered Accountants for the corporate houses.
Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI): BFTI is the newest institutions under the Ministry of Commerce to provide inputs in foreign trade related issues. It is engaged in conducting seminars and workshop on international trade related topics as well as providing consultancy services to the corporate houses, etcetera.
Finally let us try to identify Indian trade promotion organisations missing in Bangladesh. These are – different well-defined divisions in the Indian commerce ministry. Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC); India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO); National Centre for Trade Information (NCT); Export Credit & Guarantee Corporation (ECGC); and Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.
In Bangladesh we do not have these six very important organisations or their equivalent which are playing very vital roles in promoting Indian export and boosting up their economy. Critics may argue that we are conducting the activities with our existing organisations. It is true that we are doing so but when questions come for professionalism then we must go to separate professional institutions to have professional services. Otherwise we may fail to compete in international market in this age of free market and with the trend of globalisation.