New Delhi: India announced incentives worth Rs8,45 crore ($131 million) as it seeks to double overseas shipments by 2020 amid slowing trade as well as help exporters tide over the roll out of the new sales tax.

The increased benefits for exporters in labour-intensive businesses including textiles and farms is in addition to incentives worth Rs25,000 crore already available to traders, said India’s commerce secretary Rita Teotia in New Delhi today.

While micro and small businesses can access benefits worth Rs4,570 crore, incentives worth Rs2,743 crore have been extended to garment exporters, Teotia said. The government said it has refunded Rs451 crore for July to exporters who’ve been complaining of delays and received more than 10,000 applications for export refunds after the implementation of goods and service tax.

India is betting on recovering global trade to help boost exports. The $2.3 trillion economy is struggling with a widening trade deficit as rising oil prices hurt import bills. The government’s aim of almost doubling exports by 2020 will be tough to achieve as traders continue to feel the disruptive effects of the GST.

Indian exports dipped for the first time in 15 months in October, falling 1.1% to $23.1 billion. The government unveiled its first foreign trade policy for 2015-2020 in April, setting a merchandise and services export target of $900 billion by 2020.

While last month’s trade deficit widened the most in three years to $14 billion, exports are expected to fall further in November if prices of crude oil, India’s biggest import, continue to climb, traders say. Bloomberg

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