Exports up 4.25% in Feb; Govt to announce sops in FTP

Growing for the second straight month, India's exports rose by 4.25 percent to USD 26.26 billion in February.

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2013, 15:04 PM IST

New Delhi: Reflecting some recovery in the global markets, India's exports for the second straight month in February grew by 4.25 percent to USD 26.26 billion.

With a view to boost exports, the government will announce incentives for exporters in the forthcoming foreign trade policy (FTP). Exports had entered positive zone after a gap of eight months, recording a 0.82 percent growth in January.

"Europe is performing better now. The decline has been arrested. Sectors which have large weightage especially engineering has started performing better and refined oil too. There is also a marginal improvement in textiles exports," Commerce Secretary S R Rao told reporters here.

Other sectors which performed well include rice, oil meals, pharmaceutical and chemicals.

Rao said the Ministry is intensely engaged with stakeholders for the forthcoming FTP, expected to be announced by end of this month.

"We are actively involved in consultations with chambers, export promotion councils, various departments and state governments and trying to arrive at a package of incentives which would be announced shortly," he said.

Special economic zones (SEZ), which are export hubs of the country, may also get incentives along with the FTP.

Imports rose by 2.6 percent to USD 41.18 billion in February, leaving a trade deficit of USD 14.92 billion from USD 14.93 in February 2012. Last month trade deficit had widened to around USD 20 billion, the second highest figure ever in a month.

"We certainly expect that trade deficit to narrow as exports are picking up," Rao said.

However, during the April-February period, exports declined by 4 percent to USD 265.95 billion. Imports during the 11-month period grew by a mere 0.25 percent to USD 448 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 182.1 billion.

Rice exports increased by 27.7 percent year-on-year in April-February 2013. Engineering exports declined by a meagre 3 percent to USD 51 billion during the period.

Crude oil imports during April-February 2013 grew by 11.9 percent to USD 155 billion from USD 139 billion in the same period last year. In February, it grew by 15.45 percent.

The sectors which registered high growth in imports during the 11-month period include cotton, vegetable oil, petroleum and ores and scraps.

Gold and silver imports grew by 15.23 percent in the 11-month period while the imports declined by 7.6 percent to USD 52.4 billion in the month under review.

In the FTP, sectors which are expected to get sops include leather, engineering, carpet and textiles.

SEZs, which contribute about 30 percent in the country's overall exports, are losing sheen due to the imposition of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) and Dividend Distribution Tax.

"We have got representations from associations for reduction of MAT," Rao said.

Further, Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Anup Pujari said during the April-January 2013 period, India has negative trade balance with 83 countries and surplus trade with 152 nations.

Reacting to the figures, AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said that positive exports data from the last two months shows that gradually economy is showing positive signs.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Rafeeque Ahmed also said that the data shows that Indian exports are responding to positive global developments.

"The encouraging figure of employment in US for the last month, Japan return to growth, China's impressive export performance and better economic indicators for the emerging economies points to improving global sentiments," he said.