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Board of Trade meeting to review export growth today

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is scheduled to chair a high-level Board of Trade (BoT) meeting in the national capital today to discuss the issues like high interest rates, weak infrastructure and extension of cheap loans to more export-oriented sectors, reports media.

The meeting, which will have representation from the ministries of finance, external affairs, small scale industry and industry chambers and export promotion councils, will suggest steps to further boost exports.

"The board will review export performance. The industry is expected to raise issues like high interest rates, infrastructural bottlenecks, interest subsidy for more sectors and some more benefits for special economic zones in the meeting," a senior Commerce Ministry official said.

Besides, the meeting will also discuss the impact of the rupee fluctuation on the country's exports, the official added. The domestic currency had last week touched an all-time low of 65.56 against the dollar.

Although exports have recorded a growth rate of 11.6 percent in July, major sectors like gold and jewellery and engineering are still in the negative zone.

Snapping two consecutive months of decline, shipments grew to USD 25.83 billion in July.

The official said the government's focus was to address the short-term and medium-term concerns in the wake of a ballooning current account deficit (CAD).

CAD, which indicates imports of goods, services and transfer being higher than the exports, touched 4.8 percent (or USD 88.2 billion) of country's GDP in 2012-13. In the current fiscal, the government is making efforts to contain the CAD at 3.7 per cent (or USD 70 billion) of GDP.

Industrialists who are expected to attend the meeting include Bharti Enterprises Chairman and Group CEO Sunil Bharti Mittal, FICCI senior Vice-President Sidharth Birla, Jubilant Life Sciences  CMD Hari S Bhartia, Hero Group chief Pawan Munjal and others.