Special Correspondent

Latin American countries come into focus for future projects

R.K. Mutha elected regional chairman of EEPCIndia Southern Region

“Of the targeted $40 billion for 2008-2009, it will end with $36 billion due to recession”

CHENNAI: The overall export performance of engineering goods from April to January 2009 has grown by 7 per cent against the targeted figure of 27 per cent due to recession, said Mahesh K. Desai, EEPCIndia national vice-chairman on Monday.

Addressing newsmen, he said that during 2007-2008 India exported engineering goods worth $33.28 billion and it aimed at $40 billion for 2008-2009. However, it would end the year with $36 billion due to recession. The forthcoming year would be tough and challenging, which might again see a marginal increase of about seven per cent in dollar terms.

Last year, the EEPCIndia Southern Region exported goods worth $7 billion, of which auto components, castings and forgings accounted for 23 per cent. This sector also took a beating along with others that resulted in 20 per cent drop in export volumes across all the four zones. “Since the world market has turned completely uncertain, engineering exports require support measures, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises to survive these unpredictable and hostile times. We have already urged the Centre not to come out with piecemeal measures, but to implement the packages and benefits without creating procedural hassles for the exporting community,” he said.

Mr. Desai said that a Special Task Force that studies the impact of global financial crisis on the Indian engineering industry suggested that export obligation under all the export promotion schemes be extended by two years especially for large value licenses; RBI should direct the banks not to stress on collateral security and Focus market scheme benefit should be given to engineering exports to EU and USA.

To help its members, EEPCIndia conducted a seminar on focus Latin American countries – business and investment opportunities that was addressed by the Ambassadors of Argentine, Uruguay and Colombia.

In his special address, Rajiv Ranjan, Commercial Taxes Secretary said that India was fast emerging as business destination of the world due to announcement of special incentives, simplification of procedures, high growth potential of tier-II and tier-III cities, availability of skilled workforce, quick time to start business and large emerging middle class families.

R.K. Mutha, who was elected as regional chairman of EEPCIndia Southern Region for the next two years, said that India exports to Latin American Countries (LAC) grew by 14 per cent in 2007-2008 over the previous year and even then it accounted for 1 per cent of LAC total exports. “There is a huge potential that has to be tapped,” he added.

Ernesto Carlos Alvarez, Argentine Ambassador, invited Indian businessmen to Argentina and asked them not to be worried about the economic status of that country as it had already cleared all overseas debts in advance.

“Ours is a developing economy. To strike a deal with Brazilian businessmen, Indian businessmen should make continuous trips to Brazil to strike a rapport with them,” he added.

Alejandro Pelaez, Embassy of Colombia, First Secretary, said that Colombia served as a gateway to North America and explained about the implementation of various special economic zones and free trade zones in their country.

Cesar Ferrer, Uruguay Ambassador said that it was an ideal location for Indian businessmen to do trade with their business counterparts. Besides, Uruguay treated foreign investors and domestic investors on par.