Foreign trade policy by 3rd week of April; many sops expected

Foreign trade policy by 3rd week of April; many sops expected New Delhi: The government Tuesday said the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2013-14 would be unveiled by the third week of this month, which is likely to contain many sops for exporters.

"It is expected that the Annual Supplement to the Foreign Trade Policy would be announced by the third week of April and address both the immediate and medium-term concerns of exports, besides giving a fillip to exports," a Commerce Ministry statement said.

Earlier, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had said FTP was expected to be announced in the first week of April.

Besides convening a meeting of the Board of Trade (BoT) last month, Sharma has held a series of consultations with industry chambers (FICCI and CII), various export promotion councils and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

Detailed consultations have been held between Sharma and Finance Minister P Chidambaram on drawing the contours of a package to be announced as part of the FTP, the statement said adding both the ministers had a second round of discussions in Durban on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.

"The discussions between the two departments have been extremely constructive and are now in final stages," it said.

The Finance Minister, in his Budget Speech, had also assured that full support will be provided for exports in the backdrop of growing current account deficit.

During the 2012-13 fiscal, India's exports are unlikely to reach even the 2011-12 level of about USD 306 billion, and the trade deficit is likely to widen between USD 193 billion and USD 196 billion in the last fiscal.

During the April-February 2012-13, exports declined by 4 percent to USD 265.95 billion. Sectors like engineering and textiles are registering negative growth. These segments are likely to get some sops in the FTP.

According to sources, exporters are likely to get benefits under focus product and focus market scheme. Special Economic Zones, which contribute about 30 percent in the country's overall exports, are also expected to get incentives.

The incentives would help in boosting exports and bridging the widening trade deficit, which has touched USD 182.1 billion in the 11-month period of the last fiscal.

Last time, in December 2012, the government had announced incentives for exporters that include extension of two percent interest subsidy for one more year till March 2014.