Commerce Ministry pushes for export growth this fiscal despite decline so far

To ensure goods exports post an overall growth in the on-going fiscal despite a small decline in the first eight months, the Commerce Ministry is trying to identify problems affecting commodity exports and take them up on priority for resolution with export promotion councils and the Customs Department, a government official has said.

“Export promotion councils (EPCs) have been asked by the Commerce Ministry to target a minimum 15 per cent growth in exports in the current fiscal. Regular meetings with exporters, EPCs and SEZs are being conducted to expedite orders in the pipeline,” the official told.

Exporters body FIEO has estimated exports to be around $330 billion-$340 billion in the current fiscal, which is almost at the same level as last year’s $331 billion. However, it is more positive about the next fiscal and expects exports to grow at 15 per cent if the global situation improves in the first half of 2020.

In the April-October 2019-20 period, goods exports declined 2.2 per cent to $185.95 billion compared to exports in the same period last year.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is also taking up with the Customs Department the issue of expediting the Customs export clearance pipeline, the official said. “A number of consignments are held up at the Customs for numerous reasons, many of which could be sorted out separately without holding up consignments,” the official said.

Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, in a meeting with exporters on December 22, initiated action to address the problem of exporters identified as ‘risky exporters’ by CBIC. The Minister had directed that a nodal officer be appointed in the office of DGFT and asked the EPCs and exporters’ bodies to send a list of those identified as risky exporters to them so that it could taken up with the Finance Ministry.

Specific problems being faced by sectors such as telecom, forest produce, sports goods and chemicals are being taken up by the Commerce Ministry with the line Ministries to sort them out, the official added.