International Business and Trade Symposium 2014

In the current scenario, when the global economy is becoming increasingly interrelated and interwoven, it is imperative that there needs to be a platform that provides us an opportunity to deliberate on the contemporary issues facing the trade environment.  IIFT, the leading B-school in the country when it comes to International trade and business, organizes the International Business and Trade Symposium (IBTS) to provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge between the various stakeholders, namely- The Government, the corporates and the budding entrepreneurs. The most-awaited event of the year, the 8th edition of the IBTS, was organized at the posh Swissôtel, Kolkata .Based on the theme of ‘Business beyond borders’, the event is held annually for the “germination of innovative and productive ideas”.

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                                                      Dr. Deepankar Sinha addressing the audience

In the current scenario, when the global economy is becoming increasingly interrelated and interwoven, it is imperative that there needs to be a platform that provides us an opportunity to deliberate on the contemporary issues facing the trade environment.  IIFT, the leading B-school in the country when it comes to International trade and business, organizes the International Business and Trade Symposium (IBTS) to provide a forum for the exchange of knowledge between the various stakeholders, namely- The Government, the corporates and the budding entrepreneurs. The most-awaited event of the year, the 8th edition of the IBTS, was organized at the posh Swissôtel, Kolkata .Based on the theme of ‘Business beyond borders’, the event is held annually for the “germination of innovative and productive ideas”.

The Chief Guest of the event – Mr. Sandeep Choudhary, Head of Marketing and Sales, South Asia, Panalpina World Transport took the stage next. The esteemed panelist started by speaking about the logistics scenario prevailing in the country. “A queue of overloaded trucks waiting outside multiple tax checkpoints causes increase in logistic costs and delay in transportation” Mr. Choudhary told. He said that companies which enter India either invest at small scale or adapt to live with logistics and transportation problems. He suggested that it is prudent that when inviting firms to invest in India, they must be told about the problem and challenges in India. But the work should not stop here. They must also be given appropriate assistance to overcome these bottlenecks. He also threw light on the need to develop our inland waterways to augment the logistics of the country. To realise the PM’s dream of kick-starting the manufacturing sector, implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) is of prime importance, he mentioned. With GST in place, around 25% warehouse space can be freed resulting in augmenting the efficiency of the companies. He also raised the concern of paucity of trained manpower available to the supply chain firms. Moreover, the manpower is disorganised and there is a lack of specialised courses provider. India needs to train its manpower to complement the growth story of the country. He ended his address by showing a hope that there is a scope of improvement in the coming future.

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                                The speakers for the inaugural session.

The Guest of Honour, Mr. Dasho Karma Tsering Namgyal, Consulate General, the Royal Bhutanese Consulate spoke on the scope for trade between India and Bhutan and the significant trade relationships between these two countries. While addressing the “speakers of today and the audience of tomorrow”, the esteemed guest also emphasized on the need for sensitizing the future generation towards the importance of international trade. He proposed efforts like improving services delivery, opening competitive markets in services, logistics in order to reduce trade costs and to generate profitable means of doing business. He said that healthy engagement of India and Bhutan in the form of economic cooperation can help both the nations’ progress together towards world leadership in international trade.

The first session of the International Business and Trade Symposium started with Mr. S B Mohanty, General Manager, Vedanta taking to the stage and addressing the audience on the challenges faced by the SEZ today. He spoke about the need for the single window operation and approval mechanism to make trade hassle-free. He focused on the need to promote confidence among investors and encourage their commitment. He expressed concern over the comparatively lower investments in the manufacturing sector which otherwise could have meant “real growth” in the economy.

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                                       The audience glued to the proceedings.

The next speaker for this session was the well-known Mr. Sanjeev Nandwani, Development Commissioner- SEZ, Government of India, who has a long-standing relationship with the IIFT family. He continued the discussion adding the perspective of the government and put forth the different ways in which the lives of the exporters and importers have been made simpler by the government’s streamlining initiatives which has now reduced the huge amount of hard work to just the filing of one paper. He talked about the necessity of acts like section 21 to have teeth so that they can be implemented uniformly across the nation. Mr. Nandwani also stood to vanquish the notion that SEZ land is always grabbed and cited many occasions where various reasons have eternally delayed land acquisitions. He also touched upon reverse SEZ for facilitating imports and the need for reverse migration in the manufacturing sector. He concluded by wittily pointing out that “we need to get the act together as to bring in ache din you have to do something!”

In the second session, Mr. Ramalingam M, Senior VP of MCX chose to apprise the audience with the working of commodities market. He started by stating the difference between Forwards and Futures market and continued how the commodities market execute the trade orders. He explained that Risk management is the prime concern of the exchange and enlisted various ways through which the exchange safeguards the interest of the stakeholders. Rahul Shrivastava, Business Manager from Cargill graced the audience next. He started by explaining the audience about how the flash crash happened in Dow Jones market in 2010.He enlisted several pros and cons of the electronic platform in the commodity market.He told that more the commodity exchanges are accepting electronic platforms, more the commodity market is starting to act like stock markets. Liquidity in the commodities market have improved and there is less information asymmetry. Moreover retail investors have also joined the market due to ease and convenience offered by electronic platform. Next, Mr. Ashwini Kumar started off by talking about eCommerce in the commodities market. He explained how eCommerce aids in cutting the number of intermediaries between the buyers and the sellers resulting in improvement in the supply chain. He also talked about an ‘All inclusive pricing’ of the commodities instead of Ex-mine price, for example, followed in mining industry. eCommerce sites like Mjunction facilitate easy decision making due to larger transparency and convenience for the buyers.


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              The speakers for the second session on ‘Commodity Markets & E trading’

The third and the final session dealt with the challenges in inland logistics. Mr Ashish K Gupta grabbed everyone’s attention by giving the concept of SHIT ‘Some How in Time’. Unsafe handling, overloading, inadequate roads, lack of basic driver amenities and health hazards primarily AIDS are some of the key issues in inland logistics and needs to be looked into.   “Locational disadvantage is the key challenge for outbound transportation”, he said. Moreover, he suggested the concept of taking specific initiatives in customised transportation to create differentiation and bolster stakeholder engagement.  Mr. Manish Jain, IAS, Deputy Chairman, Kolkata Port Trust, threw light on the objectives of logistics strategy and said that the mantra for success in inland logistics is “customer focus in mind”. Port system efficiency is one of the major requirements of the world class port and technology infusion is needed for that. Mr Shoummo Acharya , Founder,MD and CEO,eTrans emphasized the importance of trade and international business in creating peace and universal brotherhood. He further elaborated as to how when we allow free trade between the nations and it results in prosperity, we let go of our vested interests. He gave us a fresh perspective as to how Industry restructuring can be used to overcome the challenges associated with the inland logistics. “Logistics is the last dark continent of management”, he said. He also marvelled at the ‘fantastic’ usage of technology in our country and gave us a succinct overview of the Trans-Asian Highways and Trans-Indian Railways.

In the closing note, Dipankar Sinha, Faculty at IIFT, summarized what the other speakers had said and gave his valuable insights on the latest changes in technology and trade. He stated the need to “harmonise the mode of doing business” and to overhaul the management of the customs. He concluded by saying that we need to focus on the three major keywords: ‘efficiency, capacity and the attitude of business stakeholders’.

Our no-nonsense,chotta packet-bada dhamaka, Bakul Purohit ,took the words “ Placecommer for life” too seriously by being the odd one out and turned up in a business suit. Paahul Sikand was caught by the guards sneaking out, carrying cookies in his moth-infested blazer. Vivek Maheshwary was seen revising the concepts of ‘Financial Reporting and Analysis’ while our very own GujjuPritesh bhai was feeling elated on breaking umpteen records in the 2048 number puzzle game on his much touted  iPhone 6. The lunch at Swissôtel was delectable as always.Shubham Jain dozed off through most of the event only to be intercepted during the lunch and the tea breaks. Aditya Akshay,who was fasting since weeks  to make space for the multi-cuisine spread, seemed visibly satiated.

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                  The gentlemen who made the event possible- Gautham PR and Jatin Munjal

Gautham PR and Jatin Munjal deserve all the accolades in the world for putting up such a fabulous show.Well deserved kudos to the Core Committee , which included  Swapnil,Shahmir, Avneesh, Vrinda, Ankit Sharma, Aditya Chitta, Anukriti, Shatabdi , Rajesh and Kshitij , for the impeccable execution of the event. The event was also marked by the  excellent coordination and stellar performances of Saurabh Vyas ,Apurva , Nitika and Avneesh which left the audience spell-bound. Blash JCC Anand and ex-Blash JCC Animesh ensured that the event was conducted smoothly without any glitch whatsoever .Our Social Media Marketing Team, comprising of Paahul and Ekta, leveraged all possible digital mediums to ensure that IBTS  was the talk of the town. Special mention to Murtaza and Nalini for pitching in during the event. Heartfelt thanks to Amit and Pranjal of the PixCell for capturing the event in all its glory. Utmost gratitude to our  IMF ,Ashish Dada, Ankit, Avinash, Meenakshi and Dipanjan, for their support and guidance in organizing the event.

As we conclude, a realization dawns upon us. This will probably be the last event that will be organized by our very dear Senior batch and the fact that we, the Junior Batch, must make the most of the limited time that we have with them. We must also ensure that we carry forward the legacy of our college and try to replicate them in making IIFT proud like they always do. The onus lies on each one of us!

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International Business and Trade Symposium 2014

by IIFT K Media Committee time to read: 9 min
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