The exports data for February, 2018 are not encouraging, said Ganesh Kumar Gupta, President, FIEO, as engineering, apparels, gems and Jewellery, cotton textile and carpets are showing negative growth. Leaving petroleum exports, the overall growth comes to 1 per cent in February. We are worried about gems and Jewellery exports, said FIEO Chief as sector is facing huge liquidity issue as banks are tightening their norms, which does not augur well for its exports in next few months.

President FIEO said that domestic issues affecting exports should be looked into as despite global challenges and increasing protectionism, China clocked over 44 per cent growth in February. Gupta also expressed his concern with the rising trade deficit, as export growth is not keeping pace with import growth, which for the month of February, 2018 showed a growth of 11.02 per cent against export growth of 4.48 per cent, leading the trade deficit for the fiscal to even may surpassing $150 bn.

Only 18 out of 30 major product groups were in positive territory during February, 2018 including Petroleum, Electronic goods, Organic & Inorganic Chemicals, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Plantations, Plastics & Linoleum, plantations and Marine exports.

Gupta hopes that the decision made by the government for speedy clearance of IGST and ITC refund of exporters through Refund Fortnight initiative from March 15-29, 2018 by CBEC and Commercial Taxes Departments of States/Union Territories will help in changing the decelerating trend of growth in exports.