Platinum Jubilee

The All India Exporters’ Chamber is a premier export organization, which came into being through an amalgamation of the Africa and Overseas Exporters’ Chamber which was established in 1939 and the All India Exporters’ Association. The Chamber has completed a glorious 75 years of its existence.

The 30s decade saw India transform itself in the wake of world¬wide industrialization and its external policies were being aligned accordingly to attract overseas trade and investments. The Chamber, during those times, was facilitating the sales of Indian goods from all sectors and also marketing of products imported from different countries like Japan, China, England, and West Europe to Africa.

Realizing the importance of exports, the Africa and Overseas Exporters’ Chamber, initiated the promotion of exports with African countries. They also used to host various government dignitaries from different countries, like for example, the late Ethiopian emperor – His Excellency Hailesilasi was received by the Chamber.

It is indeed a matter of pride that the All India Exporters’ Chamber was inaugurated with the amalgamation of both the above chambers in 1959 by late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Commerce Minister of India.

Seventy-five years is a long time, for an organization that has been a witness to the numerous challenges faced by our country in emerging from the rigid colonial regime transforming itself to become, today’s India – one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy global economic scenario!

During the present times, with moderating inflation, strong currency reserves, lower current and fiscal deficit and stable Tax policy, the prospects of Indian economy appear bright. However, it needs to be emphasized that to sustain a high growth rate, massive investments in infrastructure and human resources capital of India would be required on a sustained basis.

In pursuance of these goals, the new government in India has embarked upon an ambitious economic agenda with an impetus to manufacturing led export growth. The ‘Make in India’ initiative is a flagship programme of the central government that seeks to boost manufacturing and transform India into a global manufacturing hub wherein MNCs could settle manufacturing base in India using the vast India’s talent and low-cost human resources.

India, being a key player in the Asian region, also has a bearing on the region’s ever increasing strategical importance from the point of view of trade and commerce. The region is in an envious position given the relatively higher growth rates of the constituent countries.

India’s exports also play a significant role in ensuring success of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Manufacturing in India, both in volume and value, includes our exporters, who even in difficult times have kept their nose above water. The government on its part is fully committed to enable’ ease of doing business’ and to ensure that similar ‘trade facilitation measures’ will be extended to the export sector as well. A lot is being done to suggest thrust areas and key measures which can yield quick results as well as help formulate a long-term export strategy.

The global environment is also a mixed blessing for us, but a lot of fixing is still needed. The new foreign trade policy announced in April 2015 attempts to fix some of these problems. The new FTP lays down a road map for India’s global trade engagement in the coming years and measures required for trade promotion, infrastructure development and overall enhancement of trade eco system.

The five-year trade policy also provides a necessary framework for increasing exports of goods and services as well as job creation and increasing value addition in the country. Aim is to reach $900 billion of merchandise and services exports and the total two-way trade is expected to double from the present $1 trillion to $2 trillion annually in the next five years. This is a gigantic task considering that global economy is still struggling to gain momentum.

Friends, you will agree that any nation’s foreign policy is strongly influenced by the imperatives of its strategic environment, its perception of its own neighborhood and the perception of its own status in the international community.

On the basis of the above, India has sought to engage and build bridges with European Union and the Commission. The policy has brought rich dividends and should be further strengthened by the new team players and leaders of the Commission and the European Union. While endorsing our new Government’s focus on growth and democracy, the EU would do well to recall that doing business with India involves more than the simple principle of I ever quicker returns’.

Elf-India relations date back to the early 1960s, when diplomatic relations were first established. But it was 19941s Cooperation Agreement, which is still the current legal framework for cooperation, which opened the door to the broad political dialogue that has since evolved, notably through annual summits since 2000, and regular ministerial and expert-level meetings.

In recognition of both sides’ political and economic importance, the EU-India Strategic Partnership was launched in 2004, followed by adoption of the EU-India Joint Action Plan OAP) at their 2005 summit. In recent years, the establishment of a Free Trade Agreement between the two partners has gained momentum and a deal is expected as the talks’ progress.

The government, however, needs to be careful while entering into regional trade agreements as there are fears that they are being increasingly used by global corporates to make emerging economies to bend and rule by proxy. The tough negotiations by India in the India-EU free trade agreement went to show, India would not give in that easily to corporate lobby through their governments in those countries.

India’s relations with some of the EU countries like Germany are founded on common democratic principles and are marked by a high degree of trust and mutual respect. India was amongst the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with the Federal Republic of Germany after the Second World War. Relations grew significantly following the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. In the last decade, both economic and political interaction between India and Germany has enhanced. Today, Germany is amongst India’s most important partners both bilaterally and in the global context.

Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe. Germany has consistently been among India’s top ten global trade partners. India was ranked 25th in Germany’s global trade during 2014 accounting for about 1 % of total German trade. Bilateral trade in 2014 was valued at €15.96 billion. Apart from traditional sectors, knowledge-driven sectors hold good potential for collaboration. There is considerable scope for co-operation in the fields of IT, biotechnology I renewable energy, green technology, urban mobility & development and the entertainment industry.

Germany is the 8th largest foreign direct investor in India since January 2000. German FDI in India in 2014 was to the tune of US$ 1.15 billion. Germany’s total FDI in India from August 1991 until March 2015 amounted to US$ 8.31 billion. There are more than 1600 Indo-German collaborations and over 600 Indo-German Joint Ventures in operation.

Led by the remarkable Chancellor Angela Merkel, often called the most powerful woman leader in the world today, Germany is regaining its role in the international order, commensurate with its economic power and influence. The world and India are welcoming the rise of Germany.

Merkel’s recent visit to India marks a new high in India-Germany relationship. The two countries have join hands in pushing for permanent Security Council membership in the United Nations. Both countries have agreed to cooperate in sectors entailing ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ programmes. An important outcome of the visit is setting up of a “fast track mechanism” for approving and assisting German investments into India, which is a special privilege enjoyed earlier only by Japan. Germany’s role in reviving the India-Elf free trade talks will be crucial with PM Modi asking Merkel to take a lead on this front.

Today, we are fortunate to have with us Mr. Michael Siebert, Consul General at German Consulate in Mumbai as the Guest of Honor at today’s celebrations. I am confident that his active cooperation with the business community will help add a new chapter to improve the bilateral trade ties between India and Germany.

I am also grateful to Mr. R. K. Dalrnia, Chairman, TEXPROCIL for his active participation as the Chief Guest today. TEXPROCIL, as we all know is the ‘International Face of Indian Cotton Textiles’ promoting Indian exports in over 240 countries across the World. The All India Exporters’ Chambers enjoys a special bond with the Council, since its inception in 1954, as almost one-third of exports under its purview are represented by TEXPROCIL. Mr. Dalmia is the Senior President of Century Textiles, a Division at Century Textiles & Industries Ltd, one of the leading industrial houses in India and reputed across the globe. He has also held many leadership positions in various textile associations and industrial bodies. We look forward for his benign advice and active guidance to the trading community to mitigate the challenges posed by the ever-changing face of global trade.

Our thanks are also due to our Past Presidents who during their tenures in All India Exporters’ Chamber have played an active role to voice the views of exporting community and my colleagues at the Managing Committee for extending their fullest cooperation and easing my task as President of The All India Exporters’ Chamber.

I also take this opportunity to thank the members of Press and Media who have at times helped raise various issues concerning the trade to create a mass awareness of things happening on both national and international trading arena.

I also -extend our thanks to all the other dignitaries present on the dais” and to you all the wonderful audience who have helped liven up the proceedings at today’s event.

Finally, 1 thank Mr. R. ]. Shetty, Executive Director, All India Exporters’ Chamber and Mr. Siddhartha Rajagopal, Executive Director, TEXPROCIL and their team of able officers who have been instrumental in making today’s function a grand success.

Thank YOU.

Speech by President – AIEC