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Exporters, industry pleased with sops in trade policy

New Delhi: Up against weak recovery in major markets, exporters and the industry today welcomed incentives worth Rs1,052 crore, stating the steps in the annual review of the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) will help India achieve the export target of $200 billion this fiscal, reports PTI.

In order to give immediate relief, a bonus incentive (over and above the present benefits) of 2% has been announced by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma to sectors like handicrafts, handloom, silk carpets, leather and leather manufacturers, sports goods, toys and select bicycle parts. The extra sops are 2% of the export value.

"We are happy that the sectors, which were not doing well have been considered. Extension of the Duty Entitlement Pass Book (DEPB) Scheme and interest subvention are welcome," President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) A Sakthivel said. However, extension of DEPB up to 30th June is for the last time.

In the annual supplement of the 2009-2014 FTP, government today extended fiscal incentives worth Rs1,052 crore to exporters, particularly for the labour-intensive textile, handicrafts and leather sectors, to make them competitive in the markets of the developed nations witnessing a weak recovery after the 2008 recession.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) president Rajan Bharti Mittal said, "I hope with all these incentives we should be able to achieve the target of $200 billion". However, given the uneven recovery in the world economy, export performance needs to be closely monitored, he said.

While the country's merchandise exports have grown by 31% in the first quarter, $178.6 billion shipments in 2009-10 showed 3.5% decline over the previous fiscal because of the global economic woes.

"Special focus to the labour-intensive sectors is most welcome. The focus on reducing transaction is very critical and therefore a laudable step," confederation of Indian Industry (CII) director general Chandrajit Banerjee said.

The leather exporters are particularly pleased with the policy review.

"Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma stepped in at the time when it needed the most. A very positive step towards inclusive growth," chairman of the Council for Leather Exports Habib Hussain, said.

To encourage garment exports to Europe where growth is still sluggish, the government has given extended benefits to apparel exporters, under Market Linked Focus Product Scheme (MLFPS), for another six months up to 31 March, 2011.

Apparel Export Promotion Council chairman Premal Udani said, "We are happy with the MLFPS. But it is only extended to Europe and not the US, which is a very important market for us."

Under the MLFPS, the garment exporters can avail 2% duty refund on exports to the European Union EU and the US.

Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) said achieving $200 billion for 2010-11 is still an ambitious target as global recovery is still fragile.

"The technology imports should have also been incentivised to make Indian export competitive," Assocham president Swati Piramal said.

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