Describing the new era of protectionism emerging globally as "very disturbing" and a retrograde step that harks back to the 1930s regressive policies by world economies, Mr. Scindia said, "The time now is to increase trade".

The Central Government is all for transparency in processes, accountability, simplification of processes and correcting anomalies in legislation for exporters. Delivering the keynote address at a meeting with exporters from Federation of Indian Exporters Organization (FIEO), Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said that the Central Government was committed to reviving exports growth.

Mr. Scindia said that although in percentage terms, exports had declined continuously over the last ten months, there was a silver lining in terms of quantitative increase in exports from April this year onwards.

As per the data released earlier on Wednesday, exports in July fell 26 per cent to $13.7 billion. However, these have been rising since April 2009, when it had dipped to $10.7 billion. “As long as there is an upward sloping curve in a contracting economy, it is good. We do not want to see a dip in August. It is not only in India but there is also a silver lining in Germany, the largest exporter in the EU saw exports go up 7.5 per cent last month”.

Describing the new era of protectionism emerging globally as “very disturbing” and a retrograde step that harks back to the 1930s regressive policies by world economies, Mr. Scindia said, “The time now is to increase trade”.

Touching upon steps taken by the government to kick-start the economy, Mr. Scindia said already three economic stimuli in the form of packages amounting to Rs. 1.86 lakh crore were announced. For exporters, the period of interest subvention was extended and measures to reduce both the regulatory and the compliance cost were announced. Mr. Scindia said the Foreign Trade Policy to be announced on August 27 would contain a number of initiatives to revive exports. “We will soon be having a meeting of Inter-State Councils to discuss trade related issues, including refund of duties to exporters so as to have uniform policies for industry across states”.

Efforts are being made to reduce the transaction cost for exporters by doing away with multiple agencies to make the process as seamless as possible. He added that the Goods & Services Tax (GST), which would be implemented from April 1, 2010, would help exporters through benefit of 5 per cent of FoB (freight on board) on local levies.

The minister exhorted exporters to diversify beyond the three traditional markets of the U.S., the EU and Japan. “Today these three areas account for 34 per cent and, in fact, up to 70 per cent in terms of labour consumed. It is very important to look at other markets”. Exporters should move up the value chain and take advantage of the recently signed FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with ASEAN to expand in Southeast Asian countries and also explore markets in West Asia and North Africa (WANA), CIS and Latin American countries (LAC), said Mr. Scindia.