October exports dip 6.6%

India's exports are recovering faster than estimated earlier by the government as the revised figures for October 2009 have showed a much lower decline than initially estimated, but the commerce ministry has said it may still provide selective sops to the exports sector in December. The year-on-year decline in exports in October 2009 is down to 6.6% from 11.4% estimated earlier this month, the commerce minister said on Friday. Following the improvement, the government now expects exports growth to turn positive in the third quarter (October-December 2009), commerce & industry minister Anand Sharma said. Exports were expected to show a net positive growth only by the fourth quarter. India’s exports have been falling for the past 13 months with the steepest dip of 39.2% in May. The recovery could, however, be affected by the debt crisis in Dubai, which has emerged as the largest destination for India’s exports. Addressing a press conference prior to his departure for the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Geneva beginning Monday, Mr Sharma said the sectors that are still not doing well could get additional sops in December. When queried on non-tariff measures being resorted to by a number of countries to stop India’s exports, Mr Sharma said he would take up the issue. “Protectionism is not good for global recovery. I will urge against non-tariff barriers and protectionism,” he said. Trade ministers from 153 countries will meet in Geneva to review the functioning of the WTO in the backdrop of the global slowdown. They are also expected to discuss ways to conclude the ongoing Doha Round on a multilateral trade deal by 2010. The minister said it was not possible to point out exactly how well the exports sector is expected to perform in the coming months since even at this point global consumption is weak. “We have succeeded through policy interventions and incentives to arrest the steep decline (in exports). The government, which is carefully monitoring the developments, will intervene, if required,” he said. The commerce department is carrying out a sectoral review of the effect of the stimulus package. “The sectors which need special attention will get it. It will be announced in the first half of December,” he said. On the textile sector’s demand for a ban on cotton exports, the minister said if there is no exportable surplus, there will be no exports.

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