New Delhi– The Centre is looking at providing transport subsidy to states in a bid to promote agricultural exports, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting here of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion (CTDP), Prabhu said that this was among the various issues discussed at the CTDP meeting.

“We are considering to give transport subsidy to states. It is under active consideration to promote agriculture exports,” Prabhu said.

Representatives from 10 states and union territories attended the meeting, while Ministers from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh addressed the participants, a Commerce Ministry release said.

Prabhu also said that the Union Financial Services Secretary would meet with banks on credit issues being faced by exporters.

“Lending to exporters should be treated as a priority sector credit as funding to them has declined significantly in the recent past,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC) on Thursday said it has urged the RBI and the government to ensure timely and cheaper credit for the exporters, along with resolving the issues like closure of over two-year old shipping bills.

In a statement here, the EEPC noted that as per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, there has been a sharp annualised drop of over 54 per cent in the gross bank credit to the export sector.

“Against a gross credit deployment of Rs 434 billion (43.4 crore) till end October, 2017, the figures dropped by 54.6 per cent year on year to Rs 197 billion (19.4 crore) in 2018,” EEPC said.

“While there may be several global factors such as trade war between the US and China, uncertainties over Brexit hitting the export demand, the cost of credit remains a big concern for us,” EEPC India Chairman Ravi Sehgal said in a statement.

The exporters’ body said subdued credit flow has been witnessed in the engineering segment as well.

“The year-on-year growth of the bank credit to the engineering sector could grow merely by 4.6 per cent by the end of October 2018,” he said. (IANS)