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In talks with banks to provide foreign currency loans to exporters: Goyal

By Anuj Cariappa

New Delhi, June 22: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the ministry is in dialogue with banks to see ways to extend foreign currency loans to exporters.

Addressing members of the CII here, he said there are ways to resolve the problem of inadequate and expensive credit without putting a significant stress to the exchequer.

He said providing subsidies is not a solution to any trade-related issues.

File photo of Piyush Goyal

"I would like to articulate a possible alternate scenario to all to consider and see whether that is better. If instead of that (subsidies and interest subvention), we will work on foreign currency loans and I already have dialogues with bankers to see how we can expand foreign currency loans," he said.

Goyal also said Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) can play a role of credit enhancement agency for exporters.

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He has asked ECGC to come up with a robust policy on guarantee or insurance for traders and that would help bankers lend exporters at affordable rates.

"We are trying to convert the ECGC policy to a credit-enhancing instrument that gives comfort to bankers (in lending to exporters)," he said adding this mechanism can give a confidence to bankers that in case of problem, they would be comfortably compensated.

On interest subsidy, he said that under this, the government is maintaining huge amount of records and from its pool of money, hundreds and thousands of businesses all across the country are getting subsidies.

The minister also said the ministry is actively looking at refund of state levies for exporters.

"My department has assessed USD 50 billion worth of opportunities for exports from the current geo-political situation around the world," he said.

On free-trade agreement, he said, "I would not call" FTA with Asean as the "best of FTAs" as some of the clauses are quite "onerous that do not gave us enough room to engage or recalibrate".

"I have already flagged with the concerned countries the issues that need to be discussed and debated and corrected and our intention to review the FTAs and get back on the drawing board on some of the issues," he added.

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On his meeting with e-commerce firms recently, he said that their issues have been forwarded to the Reserve Bank of India and "hopefully, we are requesting them to come up with a list of FAQs or clarification".

Further, the minister said the government is taking steps to boost the growth of the economy with an aim to take it to USD 5 trillion in the next five years and USD 10 trillion in the coming years.

"Once we cross the cusp of USD 5 trillion, my own sense is that USD 20-25 trillion" will not be far to achieve, he added.

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