New Delhi: India may consider more relief measures for exporters at the trade policy review in August as the global slump continues to plague the sector, Union commerce minister Anand Sharma said on Tuesday.
“We will see what best we can do to make Indian exports competitive globally,” Sharma told reporters. “We are working on that.”
Exports, which make up close to a fifth of India’s gross domestic product, have been falling since October, and stood at $168.7 billion for 2008-09 (April-March), slightly higher than $163 billion in the previous year.
Exports fell an annual 29.2% in May, and policy makers expect the slide to continue until September as global trade shows no sign of an upturn.
The World Bank has forecast global trade to shrink 6.1% this year, while World Trade Organization forecast a 9% contraction as a result of the worst global economic crisis seen since the Great Depression.
Since October, Reserve Bank of has aggressively lowered its lending rate by 425 basis points, while the government offered interest subsidies to help ease the pain of exporting firms and prevent job losses.
Last week, the Federation of Indian Export Organisation said the government should extend a duty refund scheme for next five years, offer interest subsidies until December 2010 and exempt exporting firms from state-level levies to help revive exports.
“We are still in the process of evolving the policy after having taken the inputs from stakeholders,” Sharma said but declined to give details.
The government is scheduled to announce in August its trade policy for the next five years.