Include women entrepreneurs as stakeholders in FTA consultations: ICRIER
Economic think tank ICRIER has suggested the government include targeted measures in the next foreign trade policy to boost women’s participation in global trade and involve them as key stakeholders in consultations on trade agreements. exchange.
A policy brief Women and Trade: Towards an Enabling Ecosystem in India – published by the Indian Council for International Economic Relations Research (ICRIER) – indicates that supporting the internationalization of women-owned businesses through of targeted measures to boost women’s participation in international trade has lagged behind.
“It is recommended that the next foreign trade policy… (can) be used to integrate gender into the national trade agenda.
“Recognition of the gender barriers and vulnerabilities that women entrepreneurs face should be reflected in both the vision and the strategy, with a holistic focus on export promotion, integration into global value chains, facilitating of doing business and trade facilitation, as well as MSMEs have been explicitly recognized as having strategic importance, particularly with regard to manufacturing and job creation, and are therefore identified for targeted interventions aimed at boost exports,” the council said in a statement.
The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which is formulated by the Ministry of Commerce for five years, provides guidelines for improving exports to stimulate economic growth and create jobs. In such a policy, the government announces incentives for exporters of goods and services.
The current policy (2015-20) will end in March 2022.
The think tank also suggested the creation of a National Council for Women’s Entrepreneurship under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister.
Collecting sex-disaggregated data and statistics on trade participation and performance as well as regular stakeholder consultations on gender are essential for informed policy-making and impact assessment, he said.
These should be an integral part of the institutional setup across the range of relevant ministries, allied regulatory agencies, export promotion councils and specific product promotion councils, he added.
“…India should also include women entrepreneurs as important stakeholders in national consultations on Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and their aspirations and concerns should be reflected in the final texts through provisions gender sensitive,” he said.
Traditionally, he said, India was reluctant to link issues such as human rights, labor standards, gender equality and the environment to trade, both bilaterally and multilaterally, generally viewing them as “veiled protectionism”.
“However, with the global discourse moving towards inclusivity in trade and sustainability, more so in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic, India should adopt a more flexible and pragmatic approach and not be at trolling,” he suggested.
Under an FTA, two trading partners reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. In addition, they liberalize standards to improve trade in services and stimulate investment.
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