Government sets up council for export promotion

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) In view of continuous decline in exports over a half-year period, the Indian government has set up a promotion council to be chaired by the union commerce minister and comprising state trade and commerce ministers and other official as members.

The Council for Trade Development and Promotion was notified by the ministry earlier this month.

“It has been decided to constitute the Council for Trade Development and Promotion in order to ensure a continuous dialogue with state governments and UTs on measures for providing an international trade enabling environment in the states and to create a framework for making the states active partners in boosting India’s exports,” the notification said.

Besides, 14 union secretaries including those of commerce, revenue, shipping, civil aviation, agriculture, food processing and economic affairs will also be members of the council that also aim at achieving the $900 billion exports target by 2019-20.

The council will provide states a platform to express their perspective on trade policy to help them develop and pursue export strategies in line with the national policy and also help the states to be apprised about international developments affecting India’s trade potential and opportunities and prepare them to deal with the situation.

The central and state governments would also deliberate in the council on the relevant infrastructure to promote trade and identify impediments and infrastructure gaps adversely affecting exports.

The chairman of the Railway Board, Niti Aayog secretary and CEO, the director generals of Foreign Trade and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, representatives of industry chambers CII and FICCI and the joint secretary, commerce will also be members.

The council will be recommendatory in nature and will meet at least once every year.

The government had Friday announced it will soon announce an interest subsidy scheme to aid exporters.

Under the interest subvention scheme, which ended on March 31 last year, exporters got loans at subsidised rates.

India’s merchandise exports declined further for the seventh straight month in June to $22.29 billion, which was 15.82 percent lower than the $26.48 billion worth shipped in the like month of last year, official data showed on Wednesday.

According to the data furnished by the commerce and industry ministry, imports during the month under review fell by 13.40 percent at $33.12 billion.

Exports remained almost static compared to May’s figure of $22.34 billion, continuing the declining trend for the sixth straight month, caused by the global economic slowdown, fall in crude oil prices and appreciation of the rupee.

Cumulative exports for the period April-June 2015-16 at $66.69 billion registered a 16.75 percent decline over that in the corresponding quarter ($80.11 billion).

Earlier this month, the FIEO warned that the continuing decline in exports would result in layoffs, besides putting pressure on the current account deficit (CAD).

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