EEPC urges Centre to leverage SME growth

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Kolkata, Aug 09 (UNI) EEPC India, the apex body of engineering exporters, has urged the Center for greater co-ordination between the economic ministries and create an enabling policy enviornment for the growth of SMEs.

Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) India Chairman Rakesh Shah said it was important to create condition in the domestic market that enhanced competition and discouraged monopolistic or oligopolistic tendencies.

Elaborating the problems facing the small and medium enterprises (SMES), Mr Shah said SMEs belonging to the manufacturing segment of the Indian Industry had faced the brunt of the counter-cyclical measures.

'' The SME exporters have been hit hard due to an appreciating Rupee last year and the sharp escalation as a means to control prices, high freight costs and now the monetary squeeze as a means to control prices. Steel prices have shot over 35 per cent over a period of 11 months, while pig iron prices have increased by 40 per cent in the last 10 months, '' he explained.

Though the Centre imposed export duty on certain steel items, this had not stopped exports, he said adding availability of steel was turning out be a major problem for most small engineering exporters.

Mr Shah said, '' When we export, we should export goods, not taxes. Clearly, the WTO cannot come in the way of such simple requirements of a competitive business enviornment for the SME sector. '' Furthermore, he said the country's engineering exports had increased three thousand fold since the birth of EEPC in 1955, from USD 10 million to USD 33 billion in 2007-08. This was 21.72 per cent higher that USD 27.11 billion worth engineering exports in the year 2006-07, the Chairman stated.

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