India’s trade policy draws mixed reaction from exporters, industry

April 11th, 2008 - 8:39 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) India’s annual Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) update that has set an export target of $200 billion for 2008-09 has attracted mixed reaction from the Indian industry. Unveiling the policy update here, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said Friday that India achieved merchandise exports worth $155 billion, lower than the target of $160 billion set in 2007-08. He said the target was almost met despite setbacks on account of rupee appreciation, high interest rates and spiralling prices of inputs.

“The target of $200 billion set by the commerce minister is achievable. This is an overall target and not sector-specific and we will work together to ensure we meet the target,” said Ganesh K. Gupta, president of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO).

“Measures such as extending DEPB (Duty Entitlement Pass Book) Scheme, extending Income tax benefit to EOUs (export-oriented units), providing duty credit benefit for encouraging exports of toys and sports goods, extending interest subvention, extending focus market scheme to 10 more countries are expected to give some boost to exports as well as employment,” Gupta added.

Exporters also welcomed the reduction of duty to three percent from five percent earlier under the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme.

“Though reduction of duty to three percent under EPCG Scheme is a welcome step, we were expecting zero duty under this,” Gupta emphasised.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, president, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said: “The integrated Foreign Trade Policy for 2004-09 had helped to multiply exports and industry will continue to work with the government to achieve the $200 billion export target set for next year.”

The FTP was able to address the issues concerning exporters who have been witnessing reducing profit margins since past year due to the appreciation of the rupee, Mittal said.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) of India, the target of $200 billion was “ambitious”.

The industry bodies complimented the government for the steps taken to extend incentives to exporters.

“Extension of DEPB scheme till May 2009 and income tax benefits for 100 percent EOUs for one more year are welcome steps,” said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

“Additional duty credit and separate market promotion funds for toys and sports goods will substantially help the unorganised sector and boost employment generation,” it added.

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