Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, on Wednesday, announced that Government would unveil a “pragmatic and forward-looking” foreign trade policy (FTP) on April 18.

“We are seriously looking at more measures. The new FTP will be forward looking, pragmatic and will seek to take on the challenges posed by numerous factors that have cropped up, including dipping exports and widening of the current account deficit (CAD),” Mr. Sharma said while addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) AGM here.

Last December, the Government had announced incentives for exporters that included extension of two per cent interest subsidy for an additional one year ending March, 2014. “I have had very detailed discussions with the Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as he had announced in the Budget speech about the FTP and exports-related matters and support to the industry. ,’’ he said.

The Commerce Minister said the trade deficit would be between $192-196 billion. “It's a serious challenge because it directly impacts the deficit scenario and current account deficit too, which has touched 6.7 per cent for the December quarter,” he said.

During April-February 2012-13, exports declined by 4 per cent to $265.95 billion. It is expected that segments such as engineering, textiles, handlooms and handicrafts, which have registered negative growth, will get some sops in the new FTP. Exporters are also likely to get benefits under focus product and focus market scheme. Mr. Sharma also said he would continue to push for higher foreign direct investment cap in the defence sector beyond the current 26 per cent.