Trade Policy offers more sops to push exports

RSTV Bureau

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu let out more incentives while unveiling the mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 with a view to boosting exports.

The minister said the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) incentive rate will be raised by 2 per cent across the board for labour intensive/MSME sectors.

The increase in annual incentive by 34 per cent to Rs 8,450 crore will benefit leather, handicraft, carpets, sports goods, agriculture, marine, electronic components and project exports, the minister said in a tweet.

Minister for Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu at the mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy in New Delhi

Minister for Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu at the mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy in New Delhi

The mid-term review, Prabhu said, “aims to promote exports by simplification of processes, enhancing support to high employment sectors, leveraging benefits of GST, promoting services exports, monitoring exports performance through state-of-the-art analytics”.

The focus of the FTP, he said, will be on exploring new markets and products as well as increasing India’s share in traditional markets and products.

Emphasis will be on enhancing participation of Indian industry in global and regional value chains, the minister added.

The FTP will provide “additional annual incentive of Rs 749 crore for the leather sector, Rs 921 crore for hand-made carpets of silk, handloom, coir, jute products, Rs 1,354 crore for agri products, Rs 759 crore for marine products, Rs 369 crore for telecom, electronic components, Rs 193 crore for medical equipment,” the ministry said in a tweet.

It further said MEIS incentives for two sub-sectors of textiles — ready-made garments and made-ups — have already been increased to 4 per cent from 2 per cent, with an additional annual incentive of Rs 2,743 crore.

Minister for Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of State C.R. Chaudhary

Minister for Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of State C.R. Chaudhary

The FTP, Prabhu said, also aims at facilitating increase in farmers’ income through a focussed policy for agricultural export.

Referring to implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Prabhu said introduction of the new tax regime “would be the catalyst for spurring growth in the export sector. The lower duty on most of items and reduction of cascading effect of various duties would lower the cost and make exports competitive”.

He added that green shoots in export growth are distinctly visible now with positive export growth in 13 of the past 14 months.

The five-year FTP was announced on April 1, 2015, and set an ambitious target of India’s goods and services exports at USD 900 billion by 2020. It also has a goal of increasing India’s share of world exports to 3.5 per cent, from 2 per cent.