After clocking $300 bn in exports, India looks to boost it to $400 bn
India clocked about $300 billion merchandise exports in 2017-18, rising from $275 billion in the 2016-17 - a near 10% annual growth. India achieved $313 billion exports in 2013-14 and in subsequent years, exports have shown a declining trend in the face of global slowdown.
At present, India’s share in world merchandise exports is a mere 2% as against China’s 14%. Image source: DNA
By K R Sudhaman
Updated: Mon, Jul 23, 2018
Buoyed by a pick-up in exports in April-June quarter this year, the central government may target $400 billion annual merchandise exports in two years. India clocked about $300 billion merchandise exports in 2017-18, rising from $275 billion in the 2016-17 - a near 10% annual growth. India achieved $313 billion exports in 2013-14 and in subsequent years, exports have shown a declining trend in the face of global slowdown.
But in the first quarter of this fiscal, exports have seen a pick-up, with May witnessing a 20% growth and June 18%. This has prompted the Union commerce ministry to formulate a strategy in consultation with Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) to push annual merchandise exports to $400 billion in two years.
A sustained 20% exports growth from now will easily push India’s merchandise exports to a little over $350 billion this year, and $400 billion in the next fiscal should be achievable, according to FIEO president Ganesh Kumar Gupta.
A 20% exports growth is sustainable, Gupta told DNA Money emphasising that the strategy needed to be aimed at high potential markets such as Africa and Latin America. Indian textiles, handicraft, handlooms, leather, engineering goods, pharmaceuticals have huge potential.
“Even China is importing from India a lot of items like handicraft and carpets, and the US-China trade war too has opened up a window of opportunity to push exports to both Beijing and Washington. However, this needed to be worked upon,” he said. The commerce ministry-FIEO joint strategy will be readied shortly, he said.
India had prepared a strategy paper in 2013-14 after sustained high exports growth for almost a decade. At that time the target was to achieve $500 million exports in three years. But it was not implemented as exports slowed down due difficult global situation. Lately, global trade has started looking up.
Widening trade deficit, which is expected to hover around $200 billion this financial year due to surging oil, gold and electronics exports, has “forced us to evolve this new strategy”, Gupta said.
Economist H A C Prasad, who recently retired as senior economic advisor in the finance ministry, has come out with a study paper on the challenges and policy initiatives needed to take India’s merchandise exports to a new high.
Prasad, who was earlier economic advisor in the commerce ministry, said in the paper that with green shoots in merchandise exports it is only appropriate to raise India’s share in world exports to a 5%.
Watch this Zee Business video here:
At present, India’s share in world merchandise exports is a mere 2% as against China’s 14%. Global trade is cruising at 4.5% and it may remain at that level for the next couple of years, but for a temporary blip due to the trade war. It is time for India to try and cash in through sustained exports reforms.
To reach the 5% share, merchandise exports should hit $882 billion by 2022, which means India’s export growth rate needed to be around 27% CAGR for five years. This is not impossible as India has had higher exports growth than this during 2004-09, Prasad said.
To boost trade, India has to make its exports demand-based rather than supply-based as at present.
In most of the top imports of the world, the presence of India’s exports is very small. In 2015, India’s exports share in the top 100 items was not that impressive, and only in five of those items the share was more than 5%.
Source: DNA Money