Even as the Ministry of Finance and the Commerce and Industry Ministry are working on an “incentive package’’ for exporters to take on the uncertain economic conditions across the globe, a crucial meeting of the high-level Board of Trade (BOT), headed by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, is likely to meet next week to review the situation on the exports front.

A meeting of the Board of Trade (BoT), an advisory body to the Commerce Ministry, is likely to be held on October 11, officials in the Commerce Ministry said. Mr. Sharma has already indicated that both the Finance and Commerce Ministry were working on some kind of an incentive package to come to rescue of exporters who are faced with uncertain conditions in the international markets.

The BoT, which has representation from business chambers and trade bodies like the Engineering Export Promotion Council and Federation of Indian Export Organisations, may discuss the impact of rupee fluctuation, rising interest rates and uncertain economic conditions in Western markets on the country's exports. Exports to the traditional markets across US and Europe account for about 35 per cent of the country's total overseas shipments.

The Board of Trade meeting assumes significance as it not only will review the export performance, especially in view of the reports that a downslide in exports could start anytime, but also it provides a platform for direct interaction between the government and industry.

At its last meeting in November last year, the BoT had formed a group of top bankers and industrialists, including Ashok Leyland managing director, R. Seshasayee and Hero Group chief Pawan Munjal, to advise it on ramping up India's export competitiveness and boosting overseas shipments.

The other prominent members of the Board include well-known industrialists Anand Mahindra of Mahindra and Mahindra, Onkar S. Kanwar of Apollo Tyres, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw of Biocon, K. Satish Reddy of Dr Reddy's Lab and Yogesh Deveshwar of ITC group.

During the April-August period this fiscal, India's exports grew by 54.2 per cent to $134.5 billion. However, Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has cautioned that the high export growth rate would not be sustainable due to the uncertain economic conditions in Western markets.

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