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Foreign Trade Policy eyeing $120 billion export target

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 7: Setting an export target of 0 billion , the government today announced major changes in the Foreign Trade Policy with a focus on employment generation, especially in rural areas, and giving thrust to sectors like gems and jewellery, automobile, aviation, marine products and BPOs.

The Annual Supplement to the FTP 2004-09 scrapped the controversial Target Plus scheme and replaced with the twin schemes of Focus Product and Focus Market.

''India's merchandise exports have crossed the magic figure of 100 billion dollars. In fact, they have touched the auspicious figure of 101 billion dollars with an annual growth rate of 25 per cent'', Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said while releasing the changes in the policy.

Imports have grown by 32 per cent and stand at 140 billion dollar of which 43 billion dollars is on account of oil imports. ''Our non-oil imports are 97 billion dollars, a full four billion lower than our exports. On the non-oil front, therefore, we have a positive balance of trade,'' the Minister said.

Two new schemes will give a push to employment generation, particularly in semi-urban and rural areas -- a key objective of the foreign trade policy.

The schemes are the ''Focus Product Scheme'' to give a thrust to the manufacture and export of certain industrial products which could generate large employment per unit of investment compared to other products and the ''Focus Market Scheme'' to penetrate markets to which India's exports are comparatively low and which the exporters had been neglecting due to high freight costs and undeveloped networks.

The Focus Product Scheme would allow duty credit facility at 2.5 per cent of the freight on board (FOB) value of exports on 50 per cent of the export turnover of notified products, such as value added fish and leather products, stationery items, fireworks, sports goods and toys and handloom and handicraft items.

The Focus Market Scheme, on the other hand, allows duty credit facility at 2.5 per cent of the FOB value of exports of all products to the notified countries.

The scrip and the items imported against it for both these schemes would be freely transferable. The two schemes would replace the Target Plus Scheme.

These two schemes would be notified soon, Mr Kamal Nath said. In fact, according to sources, representatives from the Commerce and Industry sector immediately went to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the release of the policy, to seek his support for the faster notification of these schemes which have the revenue implications and have to be dealt with by the Revenue Department.


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