Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, interacted with the trading houses and exporters in New Delhi on 4 July 2018 seeking suggestions from them to evolve a strategy to increase exports by USD 100 billion in the next few years.
He informed them that the merchandise export has been encouraging last year crossing USD 300 billion registering a growth of 10% as against 5% in 2016-17 and added that the Government has taken initiatives to boost exports. Mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy, an official statement was undertaken which led to increasing export incentives by 33% for MSME and labour intensive sectors. 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 have been refunded so far. Refund processes are being streamlined further and made fully automated.
He mentioned he has had discussions with the Secretaries of key Ministries and also with the States for preparation of sectoral export and State specific export strategies. FIEO also has been asked to prepare a strategy for increase in exports by USD 100 billion in short term. Export-Import Bank of India too has submitted its report about market research for exports. He sought suggestions from the exporters also to further increase exports by another USD 100 billion in short term.
Exporters raised concerns, according to the official statement, about uncertainties in international trade like tariff increases, volatilities in currencies and review of GSP regime by US. 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. 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.
Commerce and Industry Minister assured the exporters that Government is fully seized of their concerns and is addressing them in the best interests of the country. He said their suggestions will be incorporated in the comprehensive export strategy to be finalised soon.