‘Foreign trade policy should make Indian exports competitive’

April 6th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The annual review of India’s foreign trade policy (FTP) should seek to make the country’s exports more competitive in the backdrop of a strong currency and global slowdown, industry leaders say. The commerce and industry ministry is expected to release the annual trade policy April 11.

“There is a need for having more dynamic export promotion measures and schemes in the forthcoming Foreign Trade Policy,” said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

“Priority should be given to bringing down the transaction cost for Indian exporters, which is one of the highest in India amongst our competing countries,” it added.

Ficci also recommended a scheme that would lead to complete neutralization of the various kinds of duties paid by the exporters — on the lines of the current Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) programme.

The DEPB scheme allows exporters to get a refund of the government duties that they have to pay on import of inputs. It had come under severe criticism from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that called it an export subsidy given by the government.

It was about to expire March 31 this year but has been given another extension.

India’s share was 1 percent in world merchandize exports in 2006. Till the first half of 2007 the share remained the same. This needs to be increased significantly, Ficci said.

Said the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham): “The government and exporters need to go on war-footing to make exports more competitive in the wake of rupee appreciation for fiscal 2008-09.”

In the wake of the rupee appreciating by 9 percent during April-January 2007-08, exporters said large-scale adjustments needed to be incorporated in their business module.

Assocham also urged exporters to categorise the products according to the needs and taste of the international markets.

It has also suggested that congestion at the ports be managed for sustaining growth in exports.

“There have also been incidents of theft and pilferage at the ports due to poor security. Such incidents affect relations of Indian exporters with overseas buyers adversely, so much so that at times all future orders are cancelled,” it said.

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