Indicating that the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), to be unveiled on Thursday, will take into account the concerns of the industry, especially the labour-intensive sectors, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the policy would outline the UPA-II government’s priorities over the next five years.

The new policy is expected to offer cheaper bank credit to recession-battered exporters, besides encouraging them to look beyond the U.S. and European markets.

However, the focus of the policy would be on job-intensive segments such as textiles, handicrafts, leather and gems and jewellery which could get special attention by way of zero taxes or tax refunds and subsidised credit.

“The FTP to be unveiled on Thursday may satisfy many, but may not satisfy everyone. It will be forward-looking, taking on board the concerns of the industry, particularly the labour-intensive sectors. They will get special attention,” Mr. Sharma said on the sidelines of a function here. The exporting units employ 150 million people and their jobs were the first to be put to risk following the demand slump in traditional export markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

Mr. Sharma said that he would like exporters to diversify their portfolio beyond North America and Western Europe. “Africa and Latin America remain the least priority for the exporters while full potential with Southeast Asian economies has not been realised,” he added.

Export basket

India’s export basket comprises mainly the primary products, manufactured goods and the petroleum products.

The primary products include agriculture and allied products as also ores and minerals. The chemicals, engineering goods, textile and gems and jewellery are the main items of manufactured exports. Besides exports, the FTP would also streamline procedures for imports, which have also been declining due to economic slowdown.

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