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No stimulus package for exporters: Khullar

In a dampener to the export sector, the Commerce Secretary, Mr Rahul Khullar, on Thursday said that the rising fiscal deficit does not offer the possibility of any stimulus package for exporters.

“We don't have the money to throw at this point of time,” he said at an Assocham function.

Indicating that India's traditional export markets such as the US and Europe — hit by financial crisis — are unlikely to recover soon, he asked Indian exporters to diversify to African and Latin American markets to meet the target of $450 billion by 2013-14.

Mr Khullar said exporters should diversify their product basket and invest in research and development to infuse innovation in manufacturing processes. He added that Indian exporters should reduce the cost of doing business to gain competitiveness.

“The external environment is not good – especially in the European Union and the United States. The next two years are going to be difficult. There are going to be cutbacks in government expenditure, exchange rate fluctuations and financial sector problems,” he said while releasing an Assocham strategy paper on exports.

However, he said it is within the realm of possibility to reach the export target of $300 billion this fiscal.

Mr Khullar said, “India is negotiating free trade agreements with the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand. This will reduce tariff levels and provide access to new markets. We should create industrial clusters and upgrade infrastructure to boost exports as rising imports could create serious balance of trade problem.”

Meanwhile, the Assocham President, Mr Dilip Modi, called for procedural rationalisation and measures to enhance market access. He said the right incentives will help reach the trade target with Association of South East Asian Nations of $70-100 billion over the next two years, up 30 per cent from $50 billion in 2010-11.

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