ministry of commerce

Foreign trade policy FEATURES & TARGETS



INDIA’S long delayed foreign trade policy has been announced for 2023-28 period. It must be noted that previous foreign trade policy was for 2015-20 period but due to various difficulties it could not be launched between 2020-23.


  • has has set for itself an overly ambitious target of reaching $2 trillion in total exports (goods and services combined) by 2030 from current year’s $760billion(2022-23).
  • In last 7 year’s trade has increased by 75%, by these standards it will be a tall order to achieve the currently set targets.


The policy emphasizes on ease of doing business, reduction in transaction costs, and e-initiatives, along with initiatives to promote exports, boost manufacturing, and facilitate e-commerce exports. The policy proposes the implementation of the Districts as Export Hubs initiative to support decentralized export promotion.

Gender friendly - Significant miss:

Not mainstreaming gender into the FTP will not only prevent women from significantly contributing to India’s goal of achieving $2 trillion in exports but will also disempower the implementation of the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) that specifically includes gender mainstreaming on its agenda.

It must be iterated that “being gender blind is not being gender neutral.” Research by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and World Bank has recently proven that trade and trade policy affect men and women differently — in terms of wages, consumption, welfare and in the quality of jobs created. Therefore, it is vital to include the intent and specific provisions for enabling women in the policies that have an impact on the speed and direction of the country’s trade growth.

Recognising the importance of gender mainstreaming,

  • India’s National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (2020-23) had specifically recommended the promotion of “gender inclusiveness in trade” as an action point (Action Point 27).
  • A key reason for including gender mainstreaming in the NTFAP was to address the fall in India’s global ranking in the Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation carried out by the United Nations.
  • The survey covers 53 measures of which 5 measures are related to gender mainstreaming. The NTFAP noted that “gender mainstreaming is the only parameter on which India has not performed as well as its regional counterparts” in the Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation.
  • India scored an overall 90.3 percent as compared to 78.4 per cent in 2019, but it’s score was only 66 per cent in the “Women in Trade Facilitation”
  • In response, the NTFAP’s action point, the Land Port Authority of India is in the process of making the land ports more gender friendly so that more women can participate in cross border trade. This sets an example for other trade bodies and agencies to incorporate gender equality into their policies. Another important aspect of trade policy where gender mainstreaming is expected is in India’s Free Trade Agreements that it is negotiating with the EU, Israel, Canada, and the UK.

How govt. plans to achieve this?

India put its trade policy reset on hold in wake of covid, Russia-ukraine conflict, etc. giving itself time to take a fresh approach to delineating the contours of its trade policy goals. The end result is long on statements of intent. The National Trade Facilitation Action Plan, for instance, lists aims to achieve that are essential and laudable but in no way novel: an improvement in the ease of doing business(which india has significantly improved in the last few years, According to the World Bank, India ranked 63rd in 2022 in ease of doing business across the world among 190 countries, improving its rank from 142 in 2014.) through reduction in transaction cost and time, a reduction in cargo release time, and a paperless regulatory environment.

New policy tries to fulfil its WTO obligations:

India’s WTO obligations, result by virtue of being a member the policy tries to give those obligations due effect via the policy:

  • Shift from incentives to an enabling regime of duty remission and exemption schemes to facilitate duty-free imports of inputs required for boosting exports has been near complete.
  • Already running schemes including the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products), RoSCTL (Rebate on State and Central Taxes and Levies), AA (Advance Authorisation) and EPCG (Export Promotion Capital Goods) have been modified in terms of implementation to improve adoption.
  • In the key sector of apparel and clothing, for instance, the facility of self-declaration has now been offered across the board to all exporters.
  • A one-time amnesty has also been offered, giving exporters more time to avail of both the AA (Advance Authorisation) and EPCG (Export Promotion Capital Goods).
  • With surging online trade, the policy devotes a whole chapter to ‘Promoting Cross Border Trade in Digital Economy’ including moves to facilitate the establishment of dedicated e-commerce export hubs. Still, with global trade largely becalmed and the services sector facing headwinds of uncertainty in the key western markets, the FTP falls short in offering more substantive and sectorally targeted measures as well as a well-defined road map to meet the 2030 export target.

    india foreign trade policy 2023-28
    india foreign trade policy 2023-28

Details of FTP

Ease of Doing Business, Reduction in Transaction Cost and E-Initiatives

The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) for 2023-28 in India aims to,

  • simplify the approval process for businesses, reduce transaction costs, and introduce e-initiatives.
  • Key initiatives include online approvals without physical interfaces, reduced user charges for MSMEs, e-certificates of origin, and paperless filing of export obligation discharge applications.
  • The goal is to make it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to engage in foreign trade and promote economic growth.

Export Promotion Initiatives

The FTP 2023-28 has introduced initiatives to promote exports and facilitate trade in India. These include rationalizing export performance thresholds for recognition of exporters as status holders, allowing merchanting trade involving shipment of goods from one foreign country to another, accepting rupee payments under FTP schemes, and declaring four new towns of export excellence. These initiatives will reduce transaction costs and enable more exporters to achieve higher status, ultimately promoting international trade and economic growth.


Districts as Export Hubs Initiative

The Districts as Export Hubs Initiative is a strategy proposed under the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023-28 of India to boost exports through decentralized export promotion. The initiative proposes various strategies such as creating institutional mechanisms, identifying potential export products, building capacity for new exporters, addressing infrastructure and logistics bottlenecks, and converging ongoing schemes to support these initiatives. The implementation of these strategies is expected to create an enabling environment for exports at the district level, leading to increased foreign trade and economic growth for India.


E-Commerce Exports Initiatives

The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023-28 has introduced measures to facilitate e-commerce exports in India. E-commerce exporters will now be eligible for the same benefits as traditional exporters, and necessary IT systems will be enabled within the next six months to streamline e-commerce export facilitation. Dak Ghar Niryat Kendras and designated hubs with warehousing facilities will also be operationalized to facilitate cross-border e-commerce and reduce the cost and time involved in logistics. These initiatives will help boost India’s exports, contribute to the country’s economic growth, and help small and medium-sized businesses, artisans, weavers, craftsmen, and MSMEs reach international markets.

E-Commerce Exports Initiative: FTP 2023-28

Initiatives to Boost Manufacturing in India

The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023-28 has announced initiatives to boost manufacturing in India. These initiatives include the addition of the PMMITRA scheme to the EPCG scheme, exemption for the dairy sector, eligibility for reduced export obligation requirements for green technology products, self-declaration basis for the Apparel and Clothing sector, extension of the self-ratification scheme, and double weightage for Fruits and Vegetables exporters. These initiatives are expected to encourage investment, promote sustainable manufacturing practices, simplify processes, and provide support to key sectors. The implementation of these initiatives is expected to contribute to the Make in India initiative and promote India’s position as a leading manufacturing hub.

Special One-Time Amnesty Scheme for Default in Export Obligations

The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023-28 has introduced a special one-time amnesty scheme for exporters who are unable to fulfill their export obligations against the EPCG and Advance Authorizations. This scheme provides relief to exporters and allows for one-time settlement of default in export obligation. The maximum interest payable under this scheme is capped at 100% of duties exempted, and the scheme is only applicable to cases of default due to genuine reasons. The scheme is available for a limited period until 30.09.2023.


Streamlining SCOMET Licensing Procedure

The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2023-28 emphasizes streamlining the licensing process for Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) to promote ease of understanding and compliance by industry. This is in line with India’s international commitments under various export control regimes. Recent policy changes aim to simplify the licensing of certain SCOMET items, making it easier for industry to obtain licenses for these items. The policy also aims to simplify policies for the export of dual-use high-end goods and technology, making India more competitive in the global market.


Key words: PMMITRA scheme, EPCG scheme, Dak Ghar Niryat Kendras, amnesty scheme


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