Coronavirus outbreak: Engg exporters seek relief measures

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KOLKATA, March 21 (AGENCIES): The Engineering Export Promotion Council of India on Saturday said it has sought a slew of relief measures from the government and RBI in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

Among the engineering export sectors, the most badly hit due to the spread of the virus are iron and steel, aluminium, automobile and industrial machinery, the council said.

“Many Europe-based export markets for the engineering sector are badly affected due to the coronavirus outbreak. These markets account for nearly 32 per cent of engineering exports from India,” EEPC executive director Suranjan Gupta told AGENCIES. Due to the virus outbreak, payments from these countries will get delayed, he said.

“RBI guidelines stipulate that export proceeds will have to be realised within nine months. We want the apex bank to extend it to 12 months,” Gupta said. He said the council has also urged the government to continue the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for another one year. The MEIS programme is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the country’s exports to global markets.

The EEPC has also demanded that RBI also extend the interest subvention scheme for MSME manufacturing, which expires on March 31, 2020, for another one year, he said.

“The current foreign trade policy will end on March 31, 2020. We have requested the government to continue the existing one”, the official said. The only silver lining, according to him, is that the US market remains unaffected.

“Uncertainty is a big problem which is worrying the exporters,” he said. Only exports of electrical machinery and medical devices have grown.

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