Trade ministry will seek support for export sectors that need it

Trade ministry will seek support for export sectors that need it

New Delhi: The commerce ministry has concluded its sectoral review of exports and will seek additional support for industries still under pressure, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said on Wednesday.

“We will see what we can do and seek continuation of support where it is absolutely necessary," he said, adding that labour-intensive sectors such as handicraft, leather, and gems and jewellery continue to be in trouble.

“Sectoral reviews have been completed. I am soon going to work on the recommendations. They will also get reflected on our budget proposals," Sharma told reporters at the sidelines of a conference organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, or Ficci.

The Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the ministry carried out the performance review of key export sectors.

It also examined if any sector might need additional incentives due to the slump in external demand for Indian goods.

Asked if the finance ministry would withdraw some of the incentives provided to the exporters, Sharma said any such move will be a considered pull-back. “The finance minister will dispassionately examine the sectoral performance and do what is judicious," he said.

Merchandise exports rose in November for the first time this fiscal to $13.2 billion (Rs61,512 crore) from $11.16 billion earlier, up 18.28%. However, exports in the April-November period were lower than in the year-ago period, having dropped 22.32% to $104.25 billion.

Sectors that saw significant growth are gems and jewellery (40.4%), petroleum products (83.6%), iron ore (47.2%), and plastic and linoleum (28%).

The sectors that lagged behind are textiles (6%), drugs and fine chemicals (8.7%), tobacco (5.6%), carpet (5.8%), and engineering goods (6.8%).

Earlier on Wednesday, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said: “I am not in favour of providing incentives if it cannot be sustained."

Khullar also called for “some degree of stability", expressing apprehension that there could be a tendency to “claw back some of the incentives" already provided to exporters.