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New ‘Trade Connect’ platform in the works to help new exporters, MSMEs boost exports

The government on Tuesday announced an upcoming digital platform Trade Connect to link exporters including SMEs/startups and entrepreneurs with various stakeholders in international trade. The work on the platform will begin shortly, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said chairing the second meeting of the reconstituted Board of Trade held at Bharat Mandapam in Delhi. 

The ‘ePlatform’ is expected to provide facilitation for new and aspiring exporters, information on various regulations to access markets, sectors, export trends, easy access of benefits under Free Trade Agreements, access to sector specific events along with a facility to address trade related queries to officials in government of India and associated entities to get expert advice, the ministry said in a statement later. 
The platform is likely to be ready in three to four months, according to the ministry.

“Board of Trade meeting is an opportunity to deliberate on the key issues including how to leverage the FTAs for our benefit, how to encourage the Startups/MSMEs to go beyond our borders and start exporting, boosting exports also from the services sector which remains a key driver of export growth from the country,” said Goyal. 

The minister called for the pro-active role to be played by the states and union territories to achieve higher exports and contribute to the nation-building process. While talking of potential in service exports, Goyal emphasised on education, tourism and audio-visual services as the areas with huge potential. 

As of September last year, the share of MSME-related products in all India exports was 45.56 per cent, Minister of State in the MSME Ministry Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma had informed Parliament in December. The country’s exports (merchandise and services combined) during the April-September 2023 period stood at $376.29 billion. Meanwhile, the value of MSME exports had jumped to $190 billion in FY22 from $143.9 billion in FY21 and $154.8 billion in FY20.