India announces export breaks amid ‘fragile’ recovery

NEW DELHI, August 23, 2010 (AFP) – India announced new stimulus measures Monday worth 225 million dollars to help garment, leather and handicraft exporters during the “fragile” global economic recovery. The country’s export growth slowed sharply in July on weakening demand from Western markets and the government has warned that the pace could slacken further as the global recovery stumbles.

“We are not yet out of the woods,” Trade Minister Anand Sharma said as he extended tax breaks for exporters, subsidised loans, help for upgrading machinery equipment and other concessions in India’s annual trade policy.

Sharma said he wanted to help India’s textile, handicrafts, leather and other labour-intensive sectors get through the “fragile (global) recovery and the prevailing uncertainties”.

But Sharma reiterated that India was still on track to meet its overseas sales target of 200 billion dollars for the fiscal year to March 2011.

The country’s merchandise exports last year fell 4.7 percent to 176.5 billion dollars as appetite for made-in-India goods shrank sharply.

Unlike China, where overseas sales have been a main growth driver over the past three decades, exports account