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Board of Trade to meet tomorrow to review export performance

New Delhi, Aug 26, 2013, (PTI) : 19:13 IST
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Issues like high interest rates, weak infrastructure and extension of cheap loans to more export-oriented sectors are expected to figure prominently in the high-level Board of Trade (BoT) meeting to be chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma tomorrow.

The meeting, which will have representation from the ministries of finance, external affairs, MSME and industry chambers and export promotion councils, will suggest steps to further boost exports.

"The board will review export performance. The industry is expected to raise issues like high interest rates, infrastructural bottlenecks, interest subsidy for more sectors and some more benefits for special economic zones in the meeting," a senior Commerce Ministry official said.

Besides, the meeting will also discuss the impact of the rupee fluctuation on the country’s exports, the official added.

The domestic currency had last week touched an all-time low of 65.56 against the US dollar.

Although exports have recorded a growth rate of 11.6 per cent in July, major sectors like gold and jewellery and engineering are still in the negative zone.

Snapping two consecutive months of decline, shipments grew to USD 25.83 billion in July.
Exports of engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles and petroleum products account for almost 80 per cent of the country's shipments.

According to industry experts, the target of USD 325 billion for the current fiscal is difficult to achieve.

The official said the government's focus was to address the short-term and medium-term concerns in the wake of a ballooning current account deficit (CAD).

CAD, which indicates imports of goods, services and transfer being higher than the exports, touched 4.8 per cent (or USD 88.2 billion) of country's GDP in 2012-13.
In the current fiscal, the government is making efforts to contain the CAD at 3.7 per cent (or USD 70 billion) of GDP.

Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) said it would seek waiver of service tax on few services.

"Besides, we will also raise few concerns related with labour laws and steps to reduce transactions cost," AEPC Chairman A Sakthivel said.

Industrialists who are expected to attend the meeting include Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal, FICCI senior Vice-President Sidharth Birla, Jubilant Life Sciences CMD Hari S Bhartia, Hero Group chief Pawan Munjal and Onkar S Kanwar of Apollo Tyres.

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