New Delhi: Exporters and industry on Friday raised several concerns including dip in bank lending, delay in refund of input tax credit and withdrawal of GSP benefits by the US, during a meeting of the Board of Trade, chaired by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu.
"The representatives of industry expressed concerns about decreasing flow of credit to export sector, retrospective effect of pre-import conditions, delays in refund of ITC, withdrawal of GSP benefits by US, exports to Iran and availability of incentives for exports to neighbouring countries," the commerce ministry said in a statement.
It said the issues were addressed by the senior officials and will be taken up in the forthcoming meeting of the Committee of Exports and the GST Council.
The US has decided to review India's eligibility to enjoy duty-free access for certain products in the American market under a tax benefit scheme — Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). Exporters are worried over this move as it would decrease their price competitiveness in that market.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said the global trade has entered a tough phase in the second half of 2018 and is expected to slow further in 2019.
He suggested the government to introduce a scheme for promoting branded exports, enhancing budget for organising trade fairs and improving infrastructure.
Industry body CII also emphasised that it is critical to address issues related to trade financing, incentives and logistics, to help exporters become globally competitive.
Addressing the board members, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said the country's exports have been growing on a consistent basis since 2016-17 for almost three years and are likely to reach a new peak in the current financial year.
He said exports have faced a challenging period in recent years but steps taken by the government have helped arrest the downturn effect on shipments.
"As a result, barring a few stray months, our merchandise exports have been growing on a secular basis since 2016-17 for almost three years and are likely to reach a new peak in 2018-19," he said.
On this occasion, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu launched a new online 'Anytime-Anywhere' export awareness course to train, mentor and hand-hold potential exporters.
A mobile app of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) was launched, where exporters can log their grievances, apply for various licences, besides accessing information about latest trade notices, circulars, foreign trade policy and trade fairs.
In the meeting, the ministry emphasised that the government is committed to make all processes completely paperless. It has approved a project for the revamp of the entire IT system of the DGFT.
The meeting was chaired by the commerce minister. It was attended by secretaries of different departments and other senior officials of key line ministries including, finance and agriculture. Besides, all major trade and industry bodies, export promotion councils and industrialists were present at the meeting.