After meeting industry associations Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) last week, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma today, met Indian exporters to seek their inputs from the proposed foreign trade policy.
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The meeting comes two days after Commerce Ministry data showed some signs of a tentative revival in exports. However, exporters made it clear that the exports may be picking up oflate, but will need strong support from the government going forward. CNBC-TV18's Rituparna Bhuyan reports.
Exporters led by the federation of Indian exporters organization (FIEO) and the apparel export promotion council (AEPC) met commerce minister Anand Sharma earlier today, in the backdrop of the best export growth performance recorded in February and their demands were clear and specific.
FIEO, the umbrella body of all export organisations, wants cheaper export credit for an extra cost advantage over overseas competitors. The FIEO also wants zero duty import of capital goods through the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme, a Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme(TUFS) for subsidy on machinery for engineering and pharma sectors.
The apparel sector, one of the hardest hit by the low demand in markets like EU wants 5 percent duty free scrips, which can be used to pay for import of raw material. Hit by a 21 percent decline in exports to EU this year, the apparel sector also wants restrictions on cotton exports. In return for the sops, industry promises a 25 percent increase in exports in FY14.
Rafique Ahmed, chairman, FIEO says, "US eco is showing a very good recovery. India has shown very good recovery from US markets and Europe also is doing much better. We feel 13-14 will be a better year and expect USD 400 billion exports this year."
The Commerce Ministry also realises that without the sops, exporters from third world countries will have an edge over Indian competitors, as US and EU offer them preferential access.
"Textile exports from Vietnam have overtaken Indian textile exports," says A Shaktivel, chairman, AEPC
Commerce ministry will meet all stakeholders again on March 22 for a board of trade meeting, after which it will announce the foreign trade policy.
Anand Sharma, Commerce Minister says, "We are not going to wait for long. By March 31 we will have the final figures as well as the provisional figures and will be ready with the policy by the end of the month."
Hopefully, the export sops will help India increase export earnings, something that will go a long way in bridging the current account deficit.