Districts Take Center Stage: DGFT and E-Commerce Join Forces to Supercharge Local Export Powerhouses

New Delhi: In a significant move that promises to reshape India’s export landscape, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), an arm of the Commerce Ministry, is gearing up to sign agreements with several global e-commerce giants. This initiative is part of a broader effort to leverage the ‘Districts as Export Hubs’ initiative, aiming to amplify India’s export capabilities through the digital realm.

The Collaborations and Their Scope

The DGFT is in active discussions with various e-commerce platforms, including heavyweights like Flipkart/Walmart, eBay, Rivexa, Shopclues, Shiprocket, and DHL Express. These collaborations are expected to extend across numerous districts in India, providing a significant boost to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The initiative follows a previously established agreement with Amazon, which aimed at training MSMEs in 20 identified districts.

Training and Capacity Building: A Core Component

A pivotal aspect of these partnerships is the emphasis on training and capacity building for MSMEs. The initiatives focus on essential skills like imaging, digital cataloging of products, and tax advisory. This hands-on approach aims to empower local artisans, weavers, and aspiring exporters with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive in the e-commerce export market.

The Bigger Picture: India’s Export Goals

This strategic move is aligned with India’s ambitious target of reaching $1 trillion in goods exports by 2030. It also addresses the current underutilization of e-commerce in India’s export sector, which, as noted by the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), currently accounts for a mere $2 billion, less than 0.5% of the total goods export basket. The GTRI suggests that India should aim for $350 billion worth of goods exported through e-commerce by 2030, underlining the vast potential of this sector.

The Role of E-Commerce in India’s Export Strategy

The ‘Districts as Export Hubs’ initiative is a key component of the Foreign Trade Policy 2023. It seeks to transform each district into an export hub by connecting local producers with global supply chains, leveraging their unique products and capabilities. Through these partnerships with e-commerce platforms, the DGFT aims to support local exporters, manufacturers, and MSMEs in reaching potential international buyers, thereby establishing a robust digital export ecosystem.


The impending agreements between the DGFT and these global e-commerce platforms mark a critical step in India’s export strategy. By focusing on capacity building at the grassroots level and addressing the challenges of the digital export domain, India is poised to make significant advances in its quest to become a global export powerhouse.



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