Sharma meets export bodies to firm up steps to boost trade

Exports have declined by 4 percent to USD 265.95 billion during April-February 2013.

Updated: Mar 13, 2013, 17:33 PM IST

New Delhi: Ahead of the next Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday held consultations with exporters to firm up steps to boost exports which have been impacted by global slowdown.

"We have had three rounds with CII, with FICCI and now with FIEO over this (FTP). All the exports council?s recommendations are with us. We will look at them seriously and take the best possible way forward," Sharma told reporters after the meeting.

He said the highest advisory body on trade related matters- Board of Trade (BoT) - will meet on March 22.

"And after that we will seriously settle in to finalising the FTP. I will wait to look at the final numbers of March. Soon thereafter, the policy will be announced," he said.

During the meeting, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) and Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) officials raised concerns over issues of high interest rates on export credit, high yarn prices and rising transactions costs, amid slowdown in the global economic environment.

Exports have declined by 4 percent to USD 265.95 billion during April-February 2013. 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.

Suggesting steps to boost the country's overseas shipments, AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel proposed for encouraging garment exporters to venture in manufacturing of garment of fabrics.

"Incentives in the FTP would help garment exports to double in three years. Currently, the exports are around USD 11 billion," Sakthivel said.

FIEO President Rafeeq Ahmed asked the minister to take steps in reducing transactions cost and interest rates for dollar credit.

"2013-14 is likely to be healthy. We expect that exports may touch USD 400 billion. This fiscal, it would touch USD 300 billion," Ahmed said.