The Commerce Ministry Tuesday asked exporters to come up with specific suggestions which could be taken up with various ministries, including Finance, to improve ease of doing business and boost waning exports.
New Delhi: The Commerce Ministry Tuesday asked exporters to come up with specific suggestions which could be taken up with various ministries, including Finance, to improve ease of doing business and boost waning exports.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sought specific inputs to reverse the negative trend in exports during her interaction with the representatives of 12 export promotion councils (EPCs).
After the meeting, the minister said, "The Commerce Ministry will follow up with environment, textiles, customs and finance for easing out of few more things related to export promotion so that there is an ease of doing business from the exporters' point of view."
She asked the EPCs to inform the ministry on "what is not happening and what should ideally happen" on the respective area.
The minister also asked the council members to talk with their respective members and "seek specific interventions from the Ministry based on their inputs."
The minister assured them that the issues raised by them would be sorted out through discussions with the concerned stakeholders.
Sitharaman assured that her ministry would look into all the issues raised by the EPCs and will also approach External Affairs Ministry and Finance Ministry for customs related issues.
On the concerns raised by the exporters on India-Asean free trade agreement, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia informed that the review of the pact has already been initiated.
"The government will also look into the likely impact of GST on exports," a ministry statement said adding the secretary suggested to have a collaborative approach so that conflicts among EPCs on specific issues could be resolved.
During the meeting, several issues were flagged by the exporters including the impact of India-Asean FTA on the country's exports, non-tariff barriers of other countries, currency volatility, special economic zones, problems in dealing with customs authorities and service tax .
Asean is a ten-country bloc of South East Asian nations.
Engineering Export Promotion Council Chairman T S Bhasin said that the government needs to take steps to boost exports.
"We talked about long term solutions. We have raised issues related to FTAs which are impacting our exports," he said adding "the government should think of discussing FTAs with regions like Africa, Latin America and CIS countries".
The Commerce Ministry is holding stakeholder consultations to discuss ways to boost exports, which are in negative zone since December 2014.
India's exports contracted for the 13th month in a row, dipping about 15 percent in December to USD 22.2 billion due to steep decline in engineering and petroleum shipments.
The cumulative exports during the April-December period declined by 18.06 percent to USD 196.6 billion.
To improve ease of doing business, the EPC's raised issues arising out of online applications of the DGFT website, delays in getting environmental clearances and in getting refunds.
They sought enhanced duty drawbacks, inclusion of more scrips in the MEIS scheme and abolition of service tax on exports.
Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council suggested that a greater focus of ease of doing business could help in relocating hardware business from countries like Korea, Taiwan, China to India.
Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA) suggested that the higher value added products should attract higher duty drawback.
EEPC said the lack of clear-cut directions from the government regarding the steel policy has created considerable uncertainty in the market.
Chemicals sector exporters highlighted the issues relating to inordinate delays in getting environmental clearances.
They requested the government to take up the matter with the Environment Ministry to ensure that the Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards should act as facilitators to promote exports, the statement said.
Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council raised operational issues arising out of steep registration in fee hike and challenges thrown by steep devaluation of several competing countries such Venezuela and Nigeria.
Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) requested for an early finalisation of the India-EU free trade pact which, they said, could create 10 million jobs.
Further Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) asked for inclusion of packaged basmati rice in the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) list.
"They also requested for 5 percent interest subvention on the guargum exports to enable the sector to compete in China also," it added.