Fix dollar rate for a year as a special case for this sector: EPCH

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New Delhi, Oct 11 (UNI) With 10 per cent slump in export of handicrafts during April-September because of continuous rupee appreciation, the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) today urged the Government to fix dollar rate for a year as a special case for this sector which is a net foreign exchange earner for the country.

''In the present scenario, it seems difficult but not impossible to achieve the handicrafts' export target of Rs 21,000 crore during the current financial year,'' said EPCH Executive Director Rakesh Kumar while briefing reporters at the curtain raiser press conference for the four-day 24th edition of the Indian Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF) beginning at India Expo Center and Mart, Greater Noida Expressway, New Delhi from October 16, 2007.

''We will urge the UPA Government to resolve the issue in case of handicrafts exports as this sector is the worst hit with strengthening of rupee or five per cent drawback across the board for the material used as maximum exports are routed to the United States and other dollar using countries,'' said Mr Rakesh Kumar.

In July, the Finance Ministry had provided a financial package of Rs 1,400 crore to exporters, especially in textile, handloom, handicraft and other labour-intensive industries, to cushion the impact of rupee appreciation.

Mr Kumar said the Government has set a handicrafts export target of Rs 21,000 crore (4,730 million US dollars) for the current, financial year which seems difficult to achieve.

Mr Kumar further informed that during April-September handicrafts exports were to the tune of Rs 6,150 crore (1,346 million dollar) which were down by 10.25 per cent in rupee terms.

The exports during April-September 2007-08 was Rs 5,520.19 crore, down by 10.25 per cent from Rs 6,150.92 crore during the same period during 2006-07.

The exports during the fiscal 2006 was to the tune of Rs 17,288.14 crore, up from Rs 14,526.85 crore during FY 2005-06, increasing 19.01 per cent.

He said exporters were trying hard to convince the importers to accept the invoice in rupee terms for realisation of the net value of exported products, but has not achieved success so far.

EPCH Executive Director further said ''in the coming fair, exporters will get the opportunity to do the price correction of their products and to gauge the mood of foreign buyers in the wake of appreciation of rupee, affecting the new pricing pattern.'' The Asia's largest ever handicrafts fair will have 2,400 exhibitors from all parts of the country, as against 1,800 buyers in the last fair, displaying products from diverse fields where more than 8,000 overseas buyers have confirmed their interest to visit the fair from American and European continents in addition to West Africa, Central Africa, Far East, West Asia and Central Asia.

Handicraft fair held in other parts of the world do not enjoy this kind of uniqueness. The ability to attract buyers from various parts of the world depends primarily on displaying products of multiple country origin. As against this, all the products displayed at IHGF are of Indian origin, but still manage to attract foreign buyers.

The fair is expected to generate business enquiries and orders of over Rs 1,500 crore.

Mr Kumar also mentioned that, besides buyers representing departmental stores, specialty stores, mail order houses, category houses, retail stores, there will also be specialists like consultant, architect, distributors, agents and importers attending the fair.

UNI

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