India unveils steps to push exports, target still $200 bn (Lead)

February 26th, 2009 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) India is expected to miss its export target of $200 billion this fiscal due to the global meltdown, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said Friday, but hoped this figure will be achieved next year as he unveiled new measures to help the exporting community.
The minister hoped the country would log merchandise exports of at least $175 billion during the current fiscal, as he reviewed the country’s long-term foreign trade policy.

“The impact of Europe and US recession has obviously impacted us. Till September, our export growth trajectory was 30.9 percent,” Kamal Nath said. “But India will suffer less and recover fast from the global crisis.”

During the course of his speech before the chiefs of export promotion councils, the commerce minister said in the April-January 10 months of this fiscal, merchandise exports amounted to $144.26 billion, registering a growth of just 13.2 percent.

“But I am confident of achieving the target of $200 billion in exports during 2009-10. I am keeping this as our target,” he said, unveiling some steps to boost exports. These include:

-Customs duty under export promotion capital goods scheme cut to 3 percent from 5 percent

-Benefits under Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) scheme to be extended without waiting for realisation of exports proceeds

-Special incentive of Rs.325 crore (Rs.3.25 billion/$65 million) for various sectors like handmade carpets, leather and technical textiles from April 1

-Benefit of 5 percent under “focus product, focus market” scheme for export of handmade carpets

-Authorised persons of gems and jewellery units can personally carry imported gold of up to 10 kg

-Obligation under export promotion capital goods scheme extended till 2009-10 for sops availed during 2008-09

-Bhilwara and Surat recognised as towns of export excellence for textiles and diamonds

-Threshold limit for recognition as premier trading house reduced to Rs.7,500 crore (Rs.75 billion/$1.5 billion)

-Import restriction on worked coral removed for gems and jewellery units

-Reimbursement of additional duty of excise levied on fuel would also be admissible in respect of export-oriented units

-Simplified export procedure for issue of free sale certificate

-Independent office of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) being opened at Srinagar

-Export of blood samples allowed without license after obtaining no-objection certificate from Director General of Health Services

-Electronic Message transfer facility for advance authorisation and Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) scheme established for shipments from electronic data interchange (EDI)-enabled ports with effect from April 1

- Early refund of service tax claims and further simplification of refund procedures

- The procedural formalities for claiming duty drawback refund and terminal excise duty refund for deemed exports simplified

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