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Foreign trade policy in early June to have sops for select sectors

The foreign trade policy for the on-going fiscal will be announced in the first week of June and is likely to have sops for sectors that need support to tide through the demand slowdown in the global market.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has said that he will carry out a stock-taking exercise with all export promotion councils on May 17 following which a decision on government intervention in specific sectors will be taken.

"After the stock taking exercise is complete, the government will intervene in sectors which require support," Sharma said in a press statement, adding that the foreign trade policy or FTP for the year will be announced in the first week of June.

The minsiter said the uncertainty in the EU zone was making things hard for India's exporters which was now getting reflected in the export numbers. "The slow down in export growth in April in the backdrop of the economic crisis in the Euro Zone is also a worrisome development," Sharma said.

Sectors such as engineering goods, electronic products and textiles had posted high growths in the first few months of 2011-12, but had subsequently slowed down considerably with textile posting a negative growth last month.

Exports in April 2012 recorded a growth of just 3.2% while in the preceeding month it had turned negative. In 2011-12, exports registered a growth of 21% at $303 billion, but in the second half of the fiscal export growth had decelerated to 10%.

The government will also convene a meeting of the board of trade that comprises prominent industrialists and is chaired by Sharma on June 1. Following the meeting, the minister will meet finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a ``detailed discussion'' on the industrial scenario in the country.

Interestingly, the government did not seem inclined to give fresh sops to exporters earlier this year as it was more focussed on managing its fiscal deficit that had over-shot the target. In fact, the union budget for 2012-13 announced in March ignored the export sector altogether and sops worth about Rs 1,700 crore given in October 2011 were allowed to lapse.

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