New Delhi: Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday made a case for extending interest subsidy benefits to more products from the chemical sector to boost exports.
The government provides interest subsidy of 5 per cent to certain sectors, including the micro, small and medium sector, under its interest equalisation scheme. Currently, the subsidy is also given to certain products from the chemical sector. It helps exporters get credit at affordable rates. "Minister (Prabhu) elaborated that expansion of interest equalisation scheme needs to be done by adding more tariff lines, the process of environmental clearance to be speeded up especially relating to product mix and also expeditious approval process," the ministry said in a statement.
These issues were discussed during a meeting called by Prabhu with representatives of pharma and chemical industries. The minister also stated that there is a need for the removal of pre-import condition for advance authorisation with prospective effect. Under advance authorisation, manufacturers are allowed to import duty-free inputs for export purpose.
He stressed the need for additional incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for those products that are at disadvantageous position on account of free-trade agreement. Prabhu said his ministry would seek support from Indian embassies and missions abroad to understand market profiles to push exports.
On the pharmaceutical sector, the minister said some important factors have affected exports recently, especially to the US. The issues include pressure on drug pricing due to record number of US ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) approvals, foreign regulatory issues, lack of blockbuster drugs going off patent in the recent years.
The country's pharma exports are likely to touch USD 19 billion in 2018-19 from USD 17.27 billion in 2017-18. The exports to the stringent regulatory authorities (US, EU, Canada, Australia, Russia) account for 51 per cent of the total shipments. During April-December 2018, the exports stood at USD 13.94 billion, a growth of 9.32 per cent over the previous year.