Small special economic zones suited for Kerala

Kochi: Product specific and small special economic zones (SEZ) are most suited for the state, according to G K Pillai, additional secretary in the ministry of commerce and industry. Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an open forum on new foreign trade policy, organised by the Export Promotion Council for EOUs & SEZ units (EPCES) in Kochi, he said Kerala has great potential in developing SEZs for tourism. "A detailed proposal from the Tourism department is awaited,'' he said.

Drawing the example of Tamil Nadu, where an SEZ was set up in Tirupur with an investment of Rs600 crore, Pillai said, ``the state government should learn to pool funds from the centre and come out with a master plan for developing SEZs. At least six bio-tech parks can be set up here.'

He added that SEZs could expect a central aid to the tune of Rs20 crore per Year. The Government was also planning to have a separate policy for the seafood industry, Pillai said. The seafood exporters are expected to submit a detailed proposal to the commerce ministry by next week in this regard.

"A preliminary discussion with the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and the seafood industry was held recently in which a separate policy for the industry was mooted. There is very good scope for seafood exports to go up.'

"The economy is buoyant at the moment. Even though petroleum prices have gone up, the industry has not been affected. The need of the hour is an export driven economic activity,' he said.

He pointed out that India's trade with China, which was presently worth $10 million, was expected to cross $30 million by 2010.