Ahead of the next Foreign Trade Policy announcement next month, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today met members of FICCI to take their views on steps needed to boost exports that are hit hard by global slowdown.

During the meeting, FICCI officials raised concerns over issues of high interest rates and procedural hurdles.

They also suggested steps to increase exports.

Exports have declined 4.86 per cent to $239.6 billion during April-January compared to the same period a year ago.

“We have been having consultations with the apex chambers. It is the continuation of the process while working on the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) to discuss with the industry the present situation.

“The suggestions have been taken on board and I am sure that by the time the Board of Trade meets, we will be placed in the right position to finalise the policy,” Sharma told reporters after the meeting.

Last week the Minister had members of CII.

Sharma said there is a need to further strengthen the investment environment in the country.

“We will be looking at those markets where targeted exports can take place,” he said.

FICCI’s past President R.V Kanoria said the government should take steps to bridge widening trade deficit by increasing exports.

“We have suggested several measures including refund of state levies like octroi. High interest rates are affecting the manufacturing sector of the country,” Kanoria said.

Trade deficit has widened to $20 billion in January, the second highest figure ever in a month.

(This article was published on March 8, 2013)
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