Ministry of Commerce and Industry Current Affairs - 2020

United States continues to be the Top Trading Partner of India in 2019-20

As per the data from the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the United States remains as the top trading partner of India during the Financial Year 2019-20.

This is the second consecutive Financial Year that the United States has become the top trading partner of India (in Financial Year 2018-19 United States surpassed the People’s Republic of China to become the top trading partner of India), indicating the continuously increasing economic ties between both the countries.

A potential Trade Deal is under negotiations between the United States and India, it is expected that before the United States Presidential Elections in November 2020, a Trade Deal is most likely to be signed.

Highlights from the Data

  • The Bilateral Ties between India and the United States have increased marginally in 2019-20 Financial Year as Compared to the 2018-19 Financial Year. In 2018-19 Bilateral Ties were at USD 87.96 billion, while in 2019-20 it was USD 88.75 billion.
  • India continues to maintain a trade surplus over the United States as the trade deficit of the United States in Financial Year 2019-20 was USD 17.42 billion. In 2018-19 United States trade deficit was USD 16.86 billion.

National Startup Advisory Council setup to boost Startups and Innovations

On January 22, 2020, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has setup National Startup Advisory Council. The council will suggest ways to build strong start ups in the country. It is being set up to reduce the time spent on tax compliance to less than one-hour a month and to boost the availability of domestic and global capital.

India ranks 136 in World Bank’s “Starting a Business” ranking. The council is being set up to improve India’s rank globally.

Composition of the Council

The council is to be chaired by the Minister of Commerce and Industry. The Council will have non-official members nominated by the Union Government. The non-official members will hold office for two years.

The members will be selected from different categories such as founders of successful startups, persons capable of representing interests of accelerators and incubators, etc.

The council will also include Ex-officio members. According to the ministry, they will be of the rank of Joint Secretary. The DPIIT (Department of Promotion of Industries and Trade) will be the convener of the council.

Functions of the council

The Council will suggest measures to spread culture of innovation among all the citizens and students. This will help to promote innovation among all sectors of the economy widely. It will also recommend measures to facilitate public organisations. This will help to deliver better governance, promote creation and commercialize intellectual property rights.

The Council will also suggest ways to make the process of starting, operating and exiting a business simpler. It will also mobilize investments in startup sector and will provide access of the startups to the global markets.