The commerce ministry on Friday said it will revisit the $900 billion exports target by 2019-20 as the country’s shipments have not been able to show a healthy growth rate in the first three years.
After holding over three-hour meeting with exporters, commerce secretary Rita Teaotia said there is a need to revisit the export target because in the external world nobody calculated for the global commodity prices and currency fluctuations.
“We are certainly not going to aim for the same target because we have not been able to show that growth rate in the first three years,” she told reporters in the Capital.
On 1 April 2015, the government announced a slew of incentives and new institutional mechanisms as part of the new Foreign Trade Policy (2015-2020) to nearly double country’s goods and services exports to $900 billion by 2019-2020.
India exports goods worth around $300 billion per fiscal year, while services exports amounted to around $150 billion annually. On whether the ministry would come out with the mid-term review of the foreign trade policy, she said commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu would take a call after returning from Morocco, where he is going for a WTO (World Trade Organisation) meeting.
“Whether we will issue a formal statement of intent (on the policy), the minister has to take a view on that,” she said. However, she added that the mid-term review is on and some got addressed through the goods and services tax (GST).
Speaking to reporters, Prabhu said that it was agreed in the meeting that each export promotion council (EPC) “is now going to prepare a concrete strategic action plan for what can be done in the foreseeable future” to boost exports.
He said the ministry would act on the suggestions made by the stakeholders today. “We will together act on those inputs in the next two- three weeks and therefore we will also prepare a plan,” he said adding most of the issues are related to the finance ministry and “we are going to take those issues with them”.
People who participated in the meeting include leading exporters, EPCs, associations, industry chambers, spices board. Minister for textiles and information and broadcasting Smriti Zubin Irani also participated in the meeting. Prabhu also stressed on the importance of export led growth and called for enhancing competitiveness and integration with global value chain.
The deliberations flagged global and domestic challenges faced by exporters. GST related issues regarding working capital blockage, delay in refunds and usability of merchandise exports from India Scheme and Service Exports from India Scheme scrips were raised by exporters.
In the context of mid-term review of the FTP, exporters requested inclusion of more products under these schemes and interest subsidy scheme and also increase in the rates of incentive. The meeting also provided inputs for a new export strategy focusing on integrating India into the regional and global value chain, focus on high and medium technology sectors of exports and unleashing potential of services such as tourism and e-commerce.
In a series of tweets, Prabhu said: “We must align our standards with global standards. Benchmarking will stimulate exports, ensure India’s integration with global value chain”. “We are working on short, medium and long term strategies. There can be short term challenges but the future belongs to India,” he added.
India’s exports recorded a double digit growth of 10.29% after a gap of three months to $23.81 billion in August, mainly on account of rise in shipments of chemicals, petroleum and engineering products. Cumulative exports during April-August 2017-18 increased by 8.57% to $118.57 billion, while imports grew by 26.63% to $181.71 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $63.14 billion.