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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2002

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Export growth rate set at 12 per cent

Our Bureau

Mr Murasoli Maran

NEW DELHI, June 18

UNFAZED by the 0.08 per cent dip in export growth last year, the Commerce Ministry has plumped for a 12 per cent export growth in the inaugural year of the Tenth Plan (2002-07) in tune with the medium-term export strategy which aims at 11.8 per cent growth per annum in the five-year period.

The Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran, has set an export target of $48.79 billion, envisaging a growth rate of 12 per cent for the fiscal year 2002-03. The target for the merchandise exports which exclude services exports were fixed after detailed consultations with various export promotion councils (EPCs) and commodity boards (CBs) by the officials of the Commerce Ministry here on June 10, which the Commerce Secretary, Mr Dipak Chatterjee, presided over.

An official press statement said the target took into account the performance of the external sector during the last financial year as well as an assessment of the trends during the current year within the extant scenario and broad policy framework outlined in the Exim Policy unveiled on March 31, 2002.

In the continuing meetings held with the Commerce Ministry for their respective sectors, the various EPCs and CBs apprised the officials of the efforts being made by them to intensify market promotion initiatives in key areas and to score diversification of both markets and products so as to face the growing competition in the overseas market. Based on the medium-term export strategy announced by the Commerce Department and the action plans outlined by the EPCs/CBs, specific product and market-related strategies were planned, with special focus being on the emerging markets such as Latin America, Africa, the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), besides traditional markets such as the US, West Europe and Africa.

Asked about the optimism in pitching for a higher export growth target, officials in the Commerce Ministry told Business Line here that various international institutions such as the IMF and the OECD had forecast a better period ahead, particularly in the second half of the current year and the early part of the next year, for a distinct recovery of the world economy in general, and the economies of industrial countries in particular. This is also bolstered by the first month export performance when exports grew by 18.17 per cent.

When contacted at Mumbai, the President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Mr P.D. Patodia, told this correspondent that he was "quite optimistic" about the target being hit in the current fiscal, as dark clouds on the horizon had disappeared and there was a robust growth of export in April 2002. He said that a delegation led by him recently met the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, and emphasised the need for making available export credit at relatively affordable rates and clinching various pending issues such as drawback and reimbursement of duties on input costs incurred on export production. If these problems were taken due care of by the authorities, Mr Patodia felt that there was no reason why the country's export should not go up this fiscal.

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Export growth rate set at 12 per cent

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