Mumbai: The government is considering steps to ensure that SEZs remain attractive destinations for investment, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said on Thursday.

He admitted that SEZs had seen a gradual slowdown though they account for more than a quarter of country's exports.

Sharma said he had written to the finance minister to reconsider withdrawing the Minimum Alternate Tax and the Dividend Distribution Tax."Access to cheap credit at interest rates comparable to those in competitive international markets has also engaged my attention especially in the wake of a slowdown in the economy," he said.

Sharma was speaking at the inauguration of the India International Jewellery show here.

He said the government was working closely with the industry leaders to formulate slew of measures to offer a fillip to the special economic zone exports.

He said the gems and jewellery sector assumed a significant role, being the single largest merchandise item of export, earning valuable foreign exchange fetching approximately USD42 billion.

Sharma pointed out that the government was encouraging global partnerships and collaborative ventures to adopt a diversified approach in the jewellery sector.

India is setting up an India-Africa Diamond Institute in Botswana, with Indian assistance of USD2.7 million, he added.

The 29th edition of the India International Jewellery show has attracted over 800 exhibitors with 1,800 stalls. More than 30,000 business associates are expected to visit the five-day event.


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