Will support measures to boost exports: Chidambaram

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 12:23 hrs

With the global economic slowdown throwing up challenges for India on the export front, union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday assured his ministry's support to changes that would be made to the Foreign Trade Policy.

The finance minister said changes to the Foreign Trade Policy next month would bolster exports of goods and services.

"I look forward to changes that will be made to the Foreign Trade Policy next month and I assure my support to measures that will be taken to boost exports of goods and services," Chidambaram said, presenting the budget for 2013-14.

The finance minister said India's current account deficit (CAD) was his "greater worry" as it continued to be high mainly because of high imports of oil, coal and gold, and the slowdown in exports.

Chidambaram announced a few measures in the budget to boost exports, which have experienced major slowdown.

In a bid to encourage exports of precious and semi-precious stones, Chidambaram proposed a drastic reduction of duty on exports of pre-forms of precious and semi-precious stones from 10 percent to 2 percent.

Stating that leather and leather goods was a "thrust" sector for exports, he also proposed to reduce the duty on specified machinery for manufacture of leather and leather goods, including footwear, by 2.5 percent, giving a boost to the leather exports.

Chidambaram announced a total withdrawal of export duty on de-oiled rice bran oil cake, as such a duty had made India's exports uncompetitive.

The country's export growth in dollar terms was negative, at -4.9 percent in 2012-13 (April-January), compared to 21.3 percent growth in 2011-12 (full year).

In rupee terms, it was positive at 9.1 percent, though here too, there was a deceleration from the 28.3 percent of 2011-12 (full year).

Monthly export growth rates in 2012-13 (April-December) were negative, except for a marginal positive growth in April 2012.

According to the Indian Economic Survey 2012-13, which was tabled Wednesday in parliament, there is a strong correspondence between India's export growth and world export growth.

The prospects for world trade and India's trade are still uncertain, the survey stated.

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