Implementation of the proposed India-UK free trade agreement will help to boost the country’s services exports, particularly from legal, accounting and auditing sectors, Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) said on Friday. SEPC Chairman Sunil H Talati said that the British market holds huge potential for domestic services sectors like medical transcription, legal, accounting, and auditing.
Negotiations for the trade pact between the countries are at advanced stages and expected to conclude by the end of this month.
After the conclusion of the talks, it would take some time to implement the agreement. Under this agreement, both countries may significantly cut or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.
Besides, norms would be relaxed to promote trade in services.”Britain holds a lot of potential for our services exports. The agreement will help in boosting services exports,” Talati told PTI. He also said that the council is hopeful of achieving the USD 300 billion exports target for 2022-23 on account of healthy growth in the outbound shipments so far.
In 2021-22, it was USD 254 billion.
Services exports have increased to USD 71 billion during April-June this fiscal against USD 56. 22 billion in the same quarter last year, according to the council’s data. Talati said that he has suggested the commerce ministry extend support measures for the sector in the new foreign trade policy, which is likely to be released soon, to promote the growth of the sector. It has proposed an alternative scheme to SEIS (services export from India scheme) – DRESS (Duty Remission on Export of Services Scheme) in the new policy to boost the shipments.
Further, he said that a mechanism needs to be devised by the government to capture data from the unorganized sector. “Many Chartered Accountants from Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh export services to countries like the US. That data is not being captured,” Talati said. The council is taking steps to promote exports of medical tourism, education, and hospitality sectors, he added. “Sectors like IT, auditing, and accounting have not been affected due to global uncertainties,” he said, adding the government should consider reducing 18 percent GST (goods and services tax) on hotels. Currently, 18 percent GST is levied on hotel rooms of over Rs 7,500 per night.