Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, while addressing two separate interactive sessions on the Annual Supplement to the Foreign Trade Policy with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) & Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today stated that agricultural exports including fruits and vegetables will be the next area for growth for Indian exports. “Our great area in future will be in the field of agriculture exports”, he said. The Minister highlighted the need to strengthen the infrastructure in the post-harvest stage to benefit from the opportunities in this area. Shri Nath informed that the Government is looking at the possibility of setting up Food Parks and would provide the necessary assistance in this regard. He also referred to his recent visit to China and pointed out the great potential for agro-exports that China may provide. “I have taken upon myself that in the next few months Chinese markets will open to the Indian agricultural exports”, Shri Nath said.
The Minister also pointed out the significance of the record US dollar 16 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) recorded in 20006-07 and said the country would continue to attract more investments. “I have targeted FDI for 2007-08 at US dollar 25 billion”, he said.
Responding to questions from the industry representatives, he agreed that a lot needs to be done to improve the infrastructure and the Government was committed to address the issue. To a question pertaining to the Governments policy on Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Shri Nath stated that the real issue in SEZs is not the number of SEZs but the number of units set up in the SEZs. He stated that since it was not possible to have mega-sized SEZs in India as in case of China it is therefore necessary that India has a higher number of SEZs to bring about rapid industrialization and to give momentum to exports. “If we have limits on the size of SEZs, we cannot limit the number of SEZs”, he said. The Minister reiterated that the Government is committed to ensure that land acquisition for the purpose of SEZs is done in a fair and transparent manner.
Meanwhile, Shri Kamal Nath announced that the Ministry would hold two open houses in the coming days at which the exporters and the industry representatives could discuss their specific concerns and problems if any, related to the Foreign Trade Policy Supplement announced yesterday before the necessary notifications are issued.