India steel imports from Russia rose to eight-year high in April-Jan.

India’s global trade should go paperless: Som Parkash

India, a digital economy that has the advantage of the ‘Giant Trinity’ (1.3 billion Aadhar cards and over 1 billion bank accounts and mobile phones) should go paperless in global trade to significantly bring down logistics costs, improve turnaround time of ships and enhance the efficiency of existing port infrastructure, said Som Parkash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.

While India as a country has believed in the power of technology and has been actively deploying technology and digitisation, the country still depended heavily on paper documents when it came to cross-border trade, he said.

“In cross border trade, it happens as if we don’t know any technology. We still use not less than three dozen paper documents; this situation has to change and then only we can take the optimum benefit of technology adoption,” insisted the minister while speaking at the inaugural session of the G20 Seminar on Trade and Technology, the second Trade and Investment Working Group, held here on Tuesday.

He further said the country’s priority should be making trade inclusive with the help of technology. For instance, he added, each and every micro, medium and small enterprise and entrepreneur in this country that produce something should be able to reach out to customers who sit anywhere in the world thanks to technology and e-commerce.

“We have millions of MSMEs who produce various products. Individuals, groups and families engage in handcraft, handmade-products, artifacts etc. They should be able to sell their items to families in Canada, U.K. and U.S. with ease. That’s when we can say technology is helping us to make cross border trade inclusive,’‘ the minister further said.

Mr. Parkash also emphasised the importance of having proper regulations to insulate traders and consumers from any kind of fraudulent practice.

“The EU is now considering how to regulate artificial intelligence to ensure this technology stays fruitful to everyone,” he added.

Technology would also be able to play a critical role in keeping global supply chains resilient and to make sure that they don’t break down so easily, the minister emphasised.

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