Sharma reviews export situation

Sharma reviews export situation New Delhi: Amid decline in the country's exports, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday reviewed the export performance with apex industry chambers and trade bodies.

Sharma said the decline in July exports was a cause of serious concern.

"There has been a comprehensive review. We are seriously concerned because of the slowdown. The numbers have been depressing. We were anticipating a contraction. But the July numbers are a cause of concern," he told reporters after the meeting.

Hit hard by demand slowdown in the US and Europe, exports in July contracted 14.8 percent - steepest fall in three years - to USD 22.4 billion. The shipments declined third month in a row.

He said that the Commerce Secretary and the DGFT were tasked to travel to major export cities and destinations to address the problems of exporters.

"There will be monthly trade facilitation meetings between the Commerce Secretary, DGFT, our regional DGFT offices and the export councils. We will be monitoring this very closely," he added.

Sharma said the incentives announced in June would help in reviving the exports.

"We hope that there will be a turnaround by the month of October. We hope that we will be able to bring about a positive improvement," he said.

Apex exporters body FIEO said they have raised the issue of credit cost with the minister.

"We have also asked for further extension of interest subsidy," FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said.

Apparel Export Promotion Council Chairman A Sakthivel asked the minister for early implementation of loan restructuring process.

Sakthivel also asked for introduction of the Gold Card scheme, under which the card holders would be allowed to buy duty-free oil from domestic oil companies for their factory use for power generation through generators and captive power plants.

Besides, EPCs, all the three chambers - CII, Assocham and FICCI, participated in the meeting.

PTI