India's trade with Japan has ground to a halt with ships refusing to pick up cargo bound for the far-eastern nation from Indian ports.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president Ramu Deora told MAIL TODAY that ships were not accepting containers at Indian ports for Japan as a result of which no exports were taking place at present.
A senior shipping industry official said, "We all feel very sad over the tragedy that has struck Japan. Unfortunately, it is not the best place on earth to be in right now as they are still grappling with the nuclear crisis and aftershocks of the earthquake. This disruption can only be 'temporary' and once the uncertainty over the nuclear radiation gets over normal ship movement to Japan would resume."
Deora said at the moment business is not uppermost on the minds of Indian exporters and they are more keen to donate blankets and medicines to help those affected by the earthquake-triggered tsunami and now face the danger of nuclear radiation.
Deora said several exporters had got in touch with him to donate consignments of blankets to Japan as thousands of people were stranded in the freezing cold after the havoc wreaked by the killer waves.
He said finance minister Pranab Mukherjee should waive excise duty on consignments of blankets and medicines, such as potassium iodide meant for Japan as this would facilitate the movement of these goods. These consignments should be treated on the same footing as donations to the Red Cross, he added.
Deora said Japan is a rich nation and does not need any aid from India but this would be in the nature of a goodwill gesture and emotional support.
India-Japan trade was valued at $10.36 billion during 2009-10, out of which imports from Japan comprising goods, such as machinery, automobiles, steel and electronic goods account for $6.73 billion. India's exports to Japan were valued at $3.63 billion and consist of goods, such as iron ore, fruits and others.
India also signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with Japan last month to further boost trade and investment between the two countries.
News about the steel sector emanating from Japan indicates that although Japanese steel giant Nippon Steel has shut operations following the devastating tsunami, Kobe Steel has not been affected much.
Senior SAIL officials told MAIL TODAY that they have been in touch with Kobe Steel executives and fortunately their operations have not been impacted by the tragic turn of events in Japan.
Courtesy: Mail Today