US trade report calls for increasing exports to India

Washington: A US government report today said the Obama administration is trying to resolve key bilateral trade irritants with India so that it can significantly increase American exports to the country, reports PTI.

The report, which has been submitted to US president Barack Obama said India, China and Brazil are large, high-growth markets that offer American exporters tremendous opportunities.

Mr Obama is slated to visit India in November.

US is working on plans to double exports within five years and the report outlines ways in which the government can help American businesses win more foreign government contracts, find buyers worldwide and receive more export financing.

The report, on the National Export Initiative (NEI), has been developed by the Export Promotion Cabinet which includes the secretaries of commerce, state, treasury, agriculture and labour as well as heads of all the government trade agencies.

"In India...the United States is addressing key bilateral trade irritants and developing cooperative initiatives - especially relating to innovation, services, and market access for industrial, consumer, and agricultural goods," it said.

The report added, "In India, priority sectors include energy (renewable, energy efficiency, clean coal, and nuclear); defence and homeland security; civil aviation; health care; consumer goods; franchising; and education."

It provides an overview of the progress of the NEI and lays out a plan for reaching the president's goals of doubling US exports in five years to support several million new jobs.

"As American consumers spend a little less and save a little more, it has never been more important to connect US businesses to the 95% of the world's consumers who live outside our borders," commerce secretary Gary Locke said.

He added, "Helping American companies sell more abroad will create jobs and boost our economy. This report is a blueprint for doing just that."

On India, China and Brazil, the report said that these three large, advanced developing countries have experienced rapid gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates and have rebounded most quickly from the global economic crisis.

China continues to register 9%-10% annual economic growth. India's growth is expected to move from 6%-7% between 2008 and 2009, and 8%-9% between 2010 and 2011. Brazil's projected growth has been revised upward to over 7% for 2010.

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Govt clears 11 new SEZ proposals

New Delhi: The government today cleared 11 new proposals to set up special economic zones, including those of Infosys and Wipro, reports PTI.

In its meeting here, the inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA) also approved India's largest stainless steel producer Jindal Stainless Ltd's (JSL) proposal to surrender its sector-specific SEZ in Orissa, commerce ministry additional secretary D K Mittal told PTI.

The board, headed by commerce secretary Rahul Khullar, also gave the nod to realty major Raheja Universal Ltd's request to surrender its SEZ in Maharashtra, Mr Mittal said.

Infosys Technologies' IT SEZ would come up in an area of 24.4 hectares in Karnataka, while Wipro Ltd got approval to set up two IT/ITeS tax-free enclaves over 19.4 and 29.9 hectares in the state, Mr Mittal added.

The BoA also gave the green signal to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust's port-based multi-product SEZ in Mumbai.

The Centre has also given additional time to 37 SEZ developers, including Wipro, Mahindra and Mahindra and Ansal SEZ Projects, to execute their projects, he said.

The BoA, however deferred a decision on formulation of norms for SEZ units engaged in recycling of plastic. At present, there is no specific provision in the SEZ Act for such units.

While the tax-free enclaves have emerged as major sources for attracting investment and increasing exports, entrepreneurs have expressed serious concerns over the DTC Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha last month, saying the proposed tax provisions would adversely impact employment and investment in SEZs.

The Export Promotion Council for EoUs and SEZs (EPCES) said that by altering the SEZ Act through the proposed Direct Taxes Code (DTC), the government is sending the wrong message to investors.

The Bill has proposed that only SEZs notified on or before 31 March, 2012, will get tax benefits. Furthermore, only those SEZ units that commence commercial operations by March, 2014, shall be allowed the profit-linked deductions permitted under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Direct employment in SEZs has gone beyond 5.5 lakh people and investments have crossed Rs 1.66 lakh crore.

Exports from 114 operational SEZs in the last fiscal were valued at Rs2.20 lakh crore.

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Personal finance Thursday


Religare MF launches Religare Fixed Maturity Plan-Series III-Plan A (12 months); L&T Mutual Fund unveils L&T FMP-I (September91D A); Pramerica MF introduces Pramerica Ultra Short Term Bond Fund; Birla Sun Life MF announces dividend under Birla Sun Life Tax Plan; Max Bupa Health Insurance releases 'Health Pulse 2010'

Religare MF launches Religare Fixed Maturity Plan-Series III-Plan A (12 months)

Religare Mutual Fund has launched Religare Fixed Maturity Plan-Series III-Plan A (12 months), a close-ended debt scheme. The plan offers growth and dividend payout. The investment objective of the plan, under the scheme, is to generate income by investing in debt and money market instruments maturing in line with the duration of the scheme. The scheme opened on 14th September and closes on 20th September. The new fund offer (NFO) price is Rs10 per unit. The exit load for the scheme is nil. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The minimum target amount is Rs1 crore. The benchmark index for the scheme is Crisil Short-Term Bond Fund Index.

L&T Mutual Fund unveils L&T FMP-I (September91D A)

L&T Mutual Fund has launched L&T FMP-I (September91D A), a close-ended income scheme. The investment objective of the plan, under the scheme, is to achieve growth of capital by investing in debt/fixed income securities maturing on or before the maturity of the plan. The plan offers growth and dividend (payout) option. The exit load for the plan is nil. The new fund offer (NFO) price is Rs10 per unit. The scheme opened on 15th September and will close on 20th September. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The minimum target amount is Rs1 crore. The benchmark index for the plan is Crisil Liquid Fund Index.

Pramerica MF introduces Pramerica Ultra Short Term Bond Fund

Pramerica Mutual Fund has launched Pramerica Ultra Short Term Bond Fund, an open-ended debt scheme. The investment objective of the scheme is to provide reasonable returns and high degree of liquidity by investing in debt and money market instruments. The scheme offers two options-growth and dividend. The new fund offer (NFO) price is Rs10 per unit. The NFO opens on 16th September and will close on 23rd September. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000. The exit load for the scheme is nil. The minimum target amount is Rs1 crore. The scheme will be benchmarked against Crisil Liquid Fund Index.

Birla Sun Life MF announces dividend under Birla Sun Life Tax Plan   
 
Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund has declared dividend under its scheme - Birla Sun Life Tax Plan. The quantum of dividend decided for distribution under the scheme is Rs2 per unit. The record date for distribution of dividend is 17th September. Birla Sun Life Tax Plan is an open ended ELSS scheme. The investment objective of the scheme is to achieve long-term growth of capital along with income tax relief for investment. The scheme is benchmarked against BSE Sensex. 

Max Bupa Health Insurance releases 'Health Pulse 2010'

Max Bupa Health Insurance has released Bupa Health Plus 2010 international survey, highlighting the international insights of 'ageing' globally. The report is launched in 12 countries and talks about various health related observations. The first part of this series, 'Ageing', reveals that youth in India, between 18-24 years of age, fear heart diseases most in old age (25%), followed by diabetes (24%) and cancer (16%). In the other countries where the survey was conducted, namely Germany, France, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom, Brazil, China, United States, Spain, Italy and Russia, cancer and dementia generate the greatest levels of public anxiety (34% and 23% of respondents respectively). The report also reveals that people across the globe continue to feel 'young at heart' even when they are in their 70s and 80s.
 

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