Sandeep Joshi

NEW DELHI: To curb growing inflation, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath on Friday announced a ban on cement exports and withdrew incentives for exports of rice and primary steel items.

Unveiling the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) for 2008-09, Mr. Nath announced various “innovative steps” to boost exports and help exporters counter rupee appreciation vis-À-vis the dollar.

These include extension of tax rebates under the ‘duty entitlement passbook scheme’ (DEPB) till May 2009 and income tax benefit to 100 per cent export-oriented units (EOUs) for one more year (beyond March 2009). For small and medium enterprises and sectors affected by rupee appreciation, the interest subvention provided last fiscal will continue this year too. He said: “We have managed an average cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 per cent, year-on-year, over the last four years, which is way ahead of the average growth rate of international trade.”

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