New Delhi:
Exporters body FIEO on March 18 said export sector has started feeling the pinch of the outbreak of coronavirus as international buyers are asking to hold back shipments.


Federation of Indian Export Organsations (FIEO) said they are expecting that in the coming days significant number of such requests would come which could eventually lead to cancellation of orders.


The MSMEs particularly in employment intensive sectors like carpets, handicrafts, apparels, footwear, gems and jewellery, and marine are likely to be worst affected particularly in the first quarter of 2020-2021 as per the current trend, it said in a statement.


"Coronavirus has hitherto not impacted the Indian economy yet export sector has started feeling the pinch with many requests from buyers to hold back shipments till further instructions. We feel that a significant number of such requests may eventually lead to cancellation of orders," it said.


The federation sought steps from the government to deal with the issue.


It said that banks may be asked to delay the declaring companies' accounts as NPA (non performing asset) for one year as the lack of business coupled with fixed cost will make many accounts NPAs.


The other suggestions include collateral free lending up to Rs 2 crore for MSME and extension of all existing export promotion schemes till March 31, 2021.


"The government may ease out the liquidity by immediately releasing all exports benefits to exporters including risky exporters for which a bond may be taken from risky exporters," it said adding if situation improves rapidly in the second quarter of the next fiscal, Indian exporters may gain in some products.


However, it added that at this point of time, survival of many MSME exporting units looks challenging.