India SME Forum introduces IndiaXports, the nation’s inaugural large-scale export development program

Mission to enable 200,000 first-time MSME exporters

IndiaXports summit

India SME Forum (ISF), India’s non-governmental, not-for-profit organization for small and medium businesses, announced the roll out of India’s first mass export development program, IndiaXports at the Regional MSME Exports Summit. Announced in November 2023 by Narayan Rane, Union Minister of MSME and Santosh Sarangi, IAS, Director General of Foreign Trade, the program will empower 200,000 first-time exporters to access global markets. The program will help MSME exporters by providing training to make the most of their product’s export potential. It will also guide them with basics of business like finding new export markets, understanding phytosanitary measures, obtaining international certifications, and meeting quality standards tailored for MSME products.

Speaking at the Summit, Vinod Kumar, President, India SME Forum, said, “MSMEs currently contribute one third of India’s GDP and about 50 percent of the exports. In our pursuit to elevate this contribution and empower MSMEs, the launch of IndiaXports marks a transformative milestone.” He further added, “MSMEs’ share of exports witnessed an upward trajectory, rising from 43.59 percent in FY22 to 45.03 percent in FY23. In tandem, the robust growth in the number of registered MSMEs, now totaling 3.16 crore, has contributed significantly to an impressive employment record of 15.5 crore as of December 2023.”

Addressing the concerns of MSMEs, experts at the summit recommended evaluating lucrative export markets based on economic growth, demographics, policy reforms, and trade agreements. E-commerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba play a crucial role, highlighting the need for supportive government policies. Grégory Goba-Blé, MD, UPS – India, said, “Collaborations and partnerships are vital to any business. The partnership between the Ministry of MSME, the India SME Forum, and UPS is about the next level of growth and opening new doors of export opportunities for MSMEs. This focused effort seeks to offer comprehensive know-how to navigate the requirements of cross border trade so that MSMEs can overcome challenges and contribute significantly to India’s global trade aspirations.”

Christina Struller, VP, Corporate Affairs – UPS, said, “Supporting women and advancing their contribution to trade is one of UPS’s top priorities. We’re committed to supporting the growth of women-owned businesses through the Women Exporters Program in partnership with the India SME Forum and the Ministry of MSME. Our goal is to equip women-owned businesses with the resources and knowledge they need to grow their businesses across borders. When we help women succeed, they help the economy succeed.”

The summit also witnessed the launch of 2 survey reports ‘Festive E-Commerce Trends Empowering MSME Trends in India’ and ‘Navigating Global Markets: Unveiling the Potential of a $300 Billion Opportunity in Exports,’ highlighting key recommendations:
● Creating a mechanism to accurately track MSME exports such as giving incentives to register on Udyam and mapping MSME exports using data available with existing departments.
● Boosting e-commerce exports, raising the payment variation clause to 50 percent, introducing an annual financial reconciliation process, exempting import duties on rejects/returns, and creating a dedicated green channel with separate customs codes for faster customs clearance and enhanced efficiency.
● Creating a one-stop information portal channel for exporters that would include comprehensive resources, user-friendly interface, up to date information, and support and facilitation at 3 levels/phases to becoming an exporter.
● Enhancing ease of merchandise exports such as allowing duty-free import of samples, reconfiguring ECGC’s scope, and incentivizing buyer’s insurance for reduced risk and financing costs.

The summit was attended by esteemed guests including Sunil Jha, Zonal Head Transaction Banking, ICICI Bank, Rahul Ahluwalia, Founding Director, Foundation for Economic Development, Manasvi Srivastava, Partner – International Trade & Indirect Taxes, KPMG, Rahul Narvekar, Founder, India Network, along with industry experts and government officials and participation from over 200 MSMEs.

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