Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday said this financial year, India’s merchandise exports would exceed last year’s $300 billion. He, however, refused to comment on whether these would meet the government’s target of $325 billion.
At a press conference here, Sharma said, “Exports will be definitely higher than last year’s. The trade deficit will be brought down substantially.”
Last year, during the annual review of the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-2014, the government had set an export target of $325 billion. While presenting the 2014-15 interim Budget earlier this month, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said this financial year, exports would stand at $326 billion.
On gold imports, Sharma said soon, the commerce ministry would take up the matter with the finance ministry and seek relaxation of the 80:20 rule imposed by the Reserve Bank of India. Under the rule, import of gold isn’t allowed unless 20 per cent of the previous imports are exported. The norm had left many confused, leading to imports being held up at customs.
Sharma also said the commerce department would push for the withdrawal of five per cent duty on the export of iron ore pellets. “Value-added exports must be encouraged,” he said, terming the duty as a “disincentive”. The duty was imposed on January 27.
Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said the ministry was in talks with the revenue department on the matter. “We have clearly drawn to their (finance ministry) notice that this is a big disincentive to an initiative we took a couple of years ago; we consciously want to evolve the (exports) sector because these (iron ore pellets) are value-added products,” Kher said.
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