Exporters raise high input costs, pending export refunds with Piyush Goyal

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said that India’s merchandise exports can reach $400 billion in FY22 as there is a large potential for enhancing exports in several sectors like pharma, engineering, auto-component, fisheries and agro-products. At a meeting with export promotion councils, issues related to high input costs due to rising prices of steel and plastics, release of pending refunds under export incentives and extension of interest subvention scheme for one year.

“He said that performance of exports in April 2021 and 2020-21 gives a hope that an ambitious target of $400 billion merchandise exports can be achieved this year,” commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

India’s merchandise exports in April were $30.21 billion, an increase of 197.03% over $10.17 billion in the same period last year and an increase of 16.03% over $26.04 billion in April 2019. Industry representatives who attended the meeting said that the minister also pushed for quick resolution of differences between the commerce department and the finance ministry over the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) whose rates are yet to be notified though the scheme was rolled out in January.

“Increasing raw material prices especially steel and plastics were an area of concern and the industry was asked to stay alert for any increases in input costs,” said a representative of an export promotion council who attended the meeting.

As per another representative, high freight costs and persisting container shortages were other key issues taken up at the meeting.

“It was a stock taking meeting and the ministry pushed for early disbursement of benefits under the Service Export from India Scheme for 2019-20,” the source said, adding that a fresh economic package could offer some incentives for the country’s export sector.

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The Federation of Indian Export Organisations has said that exporters have yet to receive tax refunds of around Rs 40,000 crore under the Merchandise Export from India Scheme as they were not allowed to file their claims under the scheme from April 2019 onwards.

Exporters also sought exports to be included in essential services amid the Covid-19 pandemic as localised lockdowns especially in Maharashtra would lead to factories remaining shut for the next fortnight.

(The one-stop destination for MSME, ET RISE provides news, views and analysis around GST, Exports, Funding, Policy and small business management.)

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