Export policy to unveil customs cut on inputs, thrust areas

New Delhi, January 24: | Updated: Jan 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
The long-awaited medium-term export strategy for the next five years (2002-07), to be unveiled by commerce and industry minister Murasoli Maran early next week, aims at reducing customs duty on inputs which go into production of export goods, suggesting specific policies for some of the thrust sectors such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, textiles etc besides setting the targets that can be achieved during this period. The avowed objective is to achieve a quantum jump in exports during this period.

The proposal for a reduction in customs duty on inputs required for exports is designed to bring down transaction costs and vastly improve the competitiveness of domestic products in the global markets.

Exports of services will receive a special focus and the guidelines will be issued to the states for formulation of export policies. In particular, the role of commercial attaches/Indian missions abroad will be redefined.

The announcement of the policy had to be put off several times in the wake of the ongoing global slowdown, aggravated by the September 11 terror attacks on the United States.

The plan will identify major products for export focus as well as major markets and new/upcoming markets with high import growth rates as well as macro issues affecting the countrys exports. At the same time, the policy will also analyse the trends in domestic production, value and profile in major importing and exporting countries, technology changes having a bearing on the countrys export competitiveness, the strategy in the competing countries and the special incentives offered by them.

In addition, the plan will identify the thrust countries and the import trends and fix indicative targets for each of them and the action required to achieve them.

The commerce ministry will also consider the question of entering into suitable and beneficial free-trade agreements and trade agreements with select products and countries where complimentaries exist. After a continuous slide up to last October, the export front registered a positive but meagre 0.5 per cent growth during the April-November period of the same year. The recovery was largely aided by a 3.29 per cent growth during November last. Imports also staged a marginal recovery with a measly 1.19 per cent growth during April-November.