Allow us to work with half the regular workforce: Exporters to Central Government

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 27, 2020

Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister

In a meeting with Commerce Minister, FIEO warns of losing market share to China, others

Exporters have asked the government to allow them to operate with 50 per cent of their manpower during the lockdown period with all safety and social distancing norms in place so that at least a part of their activities can continue and they do not lose their market share to China and other competing countries.

In a video conference with Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organisations made a case for extension of the existing foreign trade policy (2015-20) for one year beyond March 31, extension of all status holder certificates and extension or re-introduction of interest equalisation scheme to help the community at the time of crisis.

“Our loss will be China’s gain which is using all means to gain greater market access with increased export rebate VAT,” warned FIEO, in its presentation to the Minister, stressing on the need for the government to act fast.

Exports from the country have almost come to a stand-still since the 21-day nationwide lockdown started on March 25 as manufacturing in most factories have stopped and transportation of manufactured goods to ports is also not taking place.

‘Amend regulations’

In a letter to the Minister, the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) said the smooth movement of ready-cum-in-transit consignments to the ports for shipment should be allowed. “This will require certain amendments in the provisions regulating movement of goods/vehicles inter-State, intra-State and inter-district movement, for which the necessary orders may be issued,” the letter said.

All agencies involved in exports-imports, including Customs, CHAs, freight forwarders, transporters, shipping lines, courier companies, plant quarantine, EIC, Certificate of Origin issuing agencies and AD banks, should function with minimal staff, since if one of them is not functioning, the export/import chain will be broken, FIEO, too, said. “Alternatively, the scanned copy of documents sent from official e-mail, may be accepted by all countries in such grave situation. The countries may be asked to release documents in absence of certification on provisional basis with subsequent submission of document,” it added.

To help exporters meet their credit needs, FIEO said RBI should extend pre-and post-shipment credit by a minimum of 180-270 days, give exemption from interest and penalty on crystallisation of bills on due date and convert loss in forward cover to interest free loan to be paid after 90-180 days.

India's exports in the April-February 2019-20 period was 1.5 per cent lower to $292.91 billion.

Published on March 27, 2020

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