Exporters seek incentives from Govt to boost exports: Commerce Secretary

Posted by Daily Shipping Times on 22-06-2017        Tweet

NEW DELHI: Exporters have sought incentives such as credit at affordable rates from the Government with a view to boost India's shipments, a top official said.

The issue was raised and discussed during the meeting of Board of Trade (BoT) Chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi recently.

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that exporters and industry representatives from chambers including CII raised matters related with Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The objective of the meeting was to take suggestions and inputs for the review of the Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20), which is expected to be released by the end of this month.

Many of the comments and inputs were focused on exports which have started showing positive growth, "but they (exporters) would need support in order to continue to grow over the next fewyears," she said after the meeting.

She said many Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) have "sought additional support" through the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS), enhanced interest subvention.

Under MEIS, the Govt provides duty benefits at 2 per cent, 3 per cent and 5 per cent, depending upon the product and Country.

In 2015, the Ministry had announced 3 per cent interest subsidy for exporters to cut cost of credit for sectors, including SMEs, handicrafts, agri and food items. Exporters’ wants this benefit for more sectors.

"The objective of the meeting was to seek inputs and suggestions to the review of the Foreign Trade Policy (2015- 20)," Teaotia said.

Several concerns, including blockage of working capital, over implementation of GST were raised by exporters with the Government. They also sought support to explore new markets.

Discussions were also held on issues like e-commerce trade, market access, market development, Export- import credit, insurance to exporters and lower cost of credit to facilitate exports, she added.

"We have taken on board all the suggestions and we would be factoring in many suggestions in the policy," Teaotia said.

When asked about GST, to be rolled out from July 1, and its impact on exports, she said: "exports are zero rated under GST, there is no anticipation of any adverse impact".

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) raised certain issues related with GST and urged the Government to extend 5 per cent benefit to the exporters of branded products.

Sanjay Budhia, Co-chairman, CII National Committee on International Trade Policy and Exports, said that interest subvention should be extended to all sectors as it would help in boosting exports.

The BoT advises the Government on policy measures related to FTP in order to achieve the objective of boosting India's trade. The last meeting was held in April 2016.

The reconstituted BoT comprises oi 19 members from industry and academia (non-official members), 31 Heads ol Trade & Industry Associations (ex-officio members), and 20 top officials, including 13 Secretaries to Government of India, Deputy Governor of RBI, Railway Board Chairman and National Highways Authority of India Chairman.

The Country's exports rose by 8.32 per cent to USD 24 billion in May, even as the trade deficit shot up to nearly 30-month high of USD 13.84 billion mainly due to increase in gold imports.

Further, talking about the BoT meeting Teaotia said exporters raised the fitment issue under the GST, which would be examined by the fitment committee.

Exporters also flagged the issue oi facilitation of e-commerce trade from more number of ports and "how the refund process for the e-commerce would be treated under the GST".