Bimal Mehta: Why should the print-packaging fraternity be a part of SEPC?

India’s services exports will likely continue to be buoyant and rise to USD 375-400-billion in the next financial year, thanks to strong demand from developed countries, despite the headwinds to merchandise exports from global uncertainties. These exports are set to cross USD 350-billion in the current fiscal, against USD 325-billion initially targeted.

03 May 2023 | By Bimal Mehta

The Services Export Promotion Council (SEPC) expects good growth in medical, medical tourism, accounting, education and entertainment. Indian IT exports, from programming to execution, are doing fantastic.

The commerce minister Piyush Goyal is giving special attention to the services sector through SEPC to promote services exports in the global market.

Recently, commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said that going by the trend, India’s goods and services exports will cross USD 750-billion in 2022-23, compared with USD 676-billion in 2021-22.

The Services Export Promotion Council, set up by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has been mandated to facilitate global business opportunities for India’s services sector. The council, since its inception in 2006, has been instrumental in facilitating exports of services through trade intelligence, export development, export promotion, and enabling a business environment.

As per the new Foreign Trade Policy 2023, the approach has moved away from incentives to export promotion and tax remission.

The printing and publishing industry, particularly the services sector, has yet to participate actively in market access incentives schemes announced by the Ministry of Commerce.

None of the print focus exhibitions is featured in the current list of approved exhibitions entitled to incentives. The buyer/seller meets (BSM) is a critical component of export development. Over the years, the printing industry has not actively participated in BSM delegations.

One of my agendas is to include a list of exhibitions (specific to our industry) for eligibility for incentive Market Access Incentives.

Buyer Seller Meets (BSM) is an integral export promotion strategy organised by trade promotion councils. I am working with SEPC to include the printing and publishing industry in these delegations, especially in Europe, North America and Africa.

The print and publishing sector is vast, and the industry can offer numerous services to overseas buyers. However, no data is available to understand the market potential, the breadth of service offerings, buyer profiles and the demand/supply gap. The government assists with such market/product-related studies to facilitate greater market access. Such a study can be conducted jointly by SEPC and the industry trade associations.

One of my activities is to encourage print service organisations to participate in the global services exhibition in November 2023. Financial assistance to participate in the exhibition will be provided.

The first and foremost advice to the print, publishing and packaging fraternity would be to become members of the SPEC to avail of the various benefits. Also, participate in various trade delegations and exhibitions.

Submit a list of issues/recommendations relating to service exports (we can include aspects of manufacturing, too) specific to the print and publishing industry. These will be taken up to the SEPC by the Ministry of Commerce on behalf of the industry.

Bimal Mehta is the managing director of Vakils Premedia.