Commerce ministry sets up advisory group on foreign trade

The government has constituted a high-level committee to make recommendations for boosting India’s share of global merchandise and services trade and for initiating new policies and trade relations.

Minister of commerce and industry Suresh Prabhu approved the constitution of a High Level Advisory Group (HLAG) to make recommendations for identifying and pursuing opportunities and for addressing challenges in order to find a way forward in the contemporary global trade scenario. 
The HLAG will consider ways for boosting India’s share and importance in global merchandise and services trade, managing pressing bilateral trade relations and mainstreaming new age policy making, an official release stated.
The HLAG will examine prevailing international trade dynamics, including, but not confined to, the rising protectionist tendencies, especially on the part of major economies.
The panel will also find a way out of non-engagement by some countries on outstanding trade negotiation issues and commitments, including the Doha Development Agenda, and their insistence on pursuing negotiating mandates, in many cases prematurely and without efforts, to build consensus and common understanding.
The HLAG will suggest a way forward for India on emerging issues and, taking into account the country’s interests and sensitivities, provide options for a balanced approach for the global community to build on achievements thus far, in creating a conducive global trade framework.
The group may consider possible approaches and suggest a pragmatic framework for India’s future engagement in international trade, and the manner in which it can play a proactive and constructive role in working with the comity of nations in exploring and building consensus on resolving emergent trade related issues.
The committee, headed by Oxus Research and Investments director Surjit S Bhalla will have former foreign secretary S Jaishankar, former commerce secretary and Competition Appellate Tribunal member Rajeev Kher, principal economic advisor to the central government Sanjeev Sanyal, Quality Council of India chairman Adil Zainulbhai, former DDG, WTO, HarshaVardhana Singh, NCAER DG Shekhar Shah, foreign policy advisor Vijay Chauthaiwale, IIM Bangalore’s Pulok Ghosh, former ambassador of India to the WTO Jayant Dasgupta, Luthra & Luthra’s Rajiv K Luthra and DG of CII Chandrajit Banerjee, as members.
The HLAG will meet regularly over the next two months and make specific implementable recommendations in light of the ToR, including on each of the areas, to facilitate the formulation of future trade policies. 
The HLAG may invite special invitees whose inputs may be considered necessary. It will have its office at the Centre for WTO Studies (CWTOS), New Delhi.