Commerce Minister to Meet Exporters on September 11 to Discuss Measures to Push Export

·         MEIS Case Decision at WTO Due this Month

To push languishing exports on a higher growth track, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has called a meeting of stakeholders, including export bodies, to give suggestions on trade policy instruments that could stimulate development.

“There is an urgency in the Commerce Ministry on the need to take decisions that would boost export growth. The meeting called by the Minister on September 11 will focus on measures that could be taken to aid exports and spur development,” a government official said.

The urgency stems from the fact that the Indian economy has slowed down to a six-year low. Exports, too, have declined in the first four months of the fiscal with July figures showing a meagre growth of 2.25 per cent. “The government recognises the fact that a good performance in exports is important for the GDP to show robust growth. A lot more needs to be done to encourage exports,” the official said.

Seeking inputs

The Commerce Minister wants to get inputs from the exporting community on the measures and trade instruments that could lead to a possible increase in outbound shipments from their particular sectors.

For instance, yarn and fabric exporters, who have witnessed a sharp fall in exports over the last few months, have been demanding extension of the new Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) beyond garments and made-ups for the entire textile chain.

Exporters say that with competition from producers in Bangladesh and Vietnam increasing, they will not be able to sustain their presence in the global market if the government doesn’t refund all input taxes.

Exporters of engineering goods, too, have sought government support. The sector, which has traditionally been on the top of the country’s export charts, has witnessed a fall in exports in the first quarter of the fiscal mostly due to shrinking global demand.

Engineering exporters’ body EEPC has asked the Centre to take immediate measures like faster refund of State and Central taxes and also make steel available at international prices.

With India’s per capita Gross National Income crossing the threshold limit of $1000, the country may not be able to continue its export subsidy schemes such as the popular Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) for long.

Viable schemes needed

The Centre, therefore, also needs to finalise viable incentive schemes for exporters that are not linked to exports.

India’s exports in April-July 2019-20 contracted 0.37 per cent to $107.41 billion.