EEPC hails annual supplement to Foreign Trade policy

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Kolkata, Apr 12 (UNI) The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) today welcomed the Annual Supplement to the Foreign Trade Policy for the current year but felt that more innovative measures could have been announced to attain the targeted five per cent share of world trade by 2020.

Commenting on the steps, outlined by Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, today, EEPC Chairman Rakesh Shah lauded the measures being taken to promote technological upgradation like lowering the customs duty on EPCG scheme to three per cent from five per cent, giving greater flexibility to the average export obligations and measures to lower the transaction costs by greater use of EDI and information technology for the benefit of exporters.

The EEPC Chief also welcomed the steps to extend the DEPB scheme till May 2009 as well as the interest subvention scheme by another year.

He, however, suggested that the interest subvention scheme should be at par for all categories of exports and should also include merchant exports.

Mr Shah also noted that while engineering exports constituted about 20 per cent of the country's total exports, the foreign trade policy was virtually bereft of any positive measure to control the domestic prices of steel and pig iron which soared by 40 to 50 per cent over the past eleven months.

He requested the Government to follow the Chinese example of imposing an Export Duty of 25 per cent on all categories of steel exports to stabilise domestic prices.

Mr Shah also expressed reservation at "attempt to divide the exporting community" into different segments and giving differential rates of benefits.

" This is a policy that goes against a progressive policy thrust that gives a big push equally to all segments of Indian exports to attain the five per cent share target of world trade by 2020, " he said.

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