Constituent policy

Gender must be part of the trade policy vision

The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) due to be unveiled on September 30 will include a women’s empowerment and gender equality component for the first time after countries like Canada and the UK insisted that such a chapter is part of their free trade agreements with India.

The FTP is likely to recognize the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment, given the large number of women entrepreneurs in the export sector.

Additional facilitation measures and non-fiscal incentives could be considered.

The topic will be part of the FTP vision rather than a separate chapter.

India is willing to include gender issues in free trade agreements to encourage more women to participate in international trade. This could translate into greater facilitation measures, a government official said.

“We will probably cover women’s empowerment and gender equality in the CTF vision document, but not in the CTF implementation part at this time. We haven’t developed anything specific in the implementation part of the FTP and we may look into it in the future,” the official said.

Nisha Taneja, Professor at ICRIER, said that a number of measures are being taken by central and state governments as well as the private sector to create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs by providing assistance in building capacity and skills development, financial inclusion, step-up support and access to markets.

“However, the focus on international trade has not received sufficient attention and has unfortunately been lacking,” Taneja said.

According to a recent ICRIER policy brief, the inclusion of gender-specific provisions in future FTPs and FTAs ​​under negotiation would be a necessary first step in this direction.

“Now is the time for a concerted focus on increasing women’s participation in international trade, similar to the efforts made for the scaling up and internationalization of MSMEs,” Taneja added.

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