In an interactive workshop with Indian exporters on July 4 in New Delhi Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, asked the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) to prepare a strategy for increase in exports by USD 100 billion in the short term. According to the minister the export performance has been encouraging last year. In 2017-18 merchandise exports crossed USD 300 billion and registered a growth of 10 per cent, while in 2016-17 it was 5 per cent. Total exports, including services, were at USD 498.47 billion and were up by 13.5 per cent in 2017-18. This year also there has been a growth in merchandise exports of more than 20 per cent each in May and June.
“Government has taken initiatives to boost exports. Mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy was undertaken which led to increasing export incentives by 33 per cent for MSME and labour intensive sectors,” Prabhu maintained. He underlined that earlier Exports Relief Package was announced by GST Council restoring schemes of duty free procurement of inputs for exports under Advanced Authorisation/Export Promotion Capital Goods. “Government has been proactive in GST refunds through the refund fortnight organised in March and June 2018. More than Rs 40,000 crore has been refunded so far. Refund processes are being streamlined further and made fully automated,” he asserted.
Meanwhile, the commerce minister held two rounds of discussions with secretaries of key ministries for preparing sector specific export strategies. States are also being consulted for preparing State specific export strategies.
However, exporters raised concerns about uncertainties in international trade like tariff increases, volatilities in currencies and review of GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) regime by US. According to FIEO political developments in Iran, Russia and the Middle-East have added to the uncertainties. “Domestically also, cost of credit is showing upward trends, banks are adopting rigid approach in disbursement of credit and liquidity challenges will continue to exist until GST refund process is made fully automatic with minimum human interaction,” said FIEO sources. Exporters suggested for providing branding assistance in existing and new export markets, using Lines of Credit as marketing tool, support for Research & Development, and promoting e-commerce.
Reacting to exporters suggestions Prabhu maintained that these would be incorporated in the comprehensive export strategy to be finalised soon.
Organised by FIEO the workshop was also attended by Commerce Secretary, Rita Teaotia, OSD, Dr. Anup Wadhawan and DGFT, Alok Chaturvedi.