Commerce Minister emphasised that exports are strategically important and sustained growth in exports is critical for India. It is therefore imperative to promote exports as a combined and joint mission which requires the effort of all ministries and departments of the Government.
The Minister asked all officers to prepare an action plan on boosting exports of products being handled by their respective Ministries and send it to the Department of Commerce within the next fortnight. The action plan should also have short term targets which are achievable in the next two months. The Department of Commerce will take the assistance of Ministry of External Affairs to implement the action plans through our commercial missions abroad. Minister informed that the Union Cabinet has accorded approval of Rs. 5000 crores to promote export of services in champion sectors and the Department of Commerce (DoC) is organizing the next Global Exhibition on export of Services at Mumbai on 15th May 2018. He stated that the DoC is now actively associating with State Governments for promoting exports recognizing the fact that States are the key stakeholders in the growth of exports. Regional Authorities of the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) have been assigned enhanced role and responsibilities to liaise with state governments to assist in formulation and implementation of state export policy and strategy and to represent the Department of Commerce in the State and Union Territory Governments. Officers have been asked to identify a few districts under their jurisdiction to assess and prepare a dossier on their export potential and initiate measures to realise the full potential of actual exports from that area.
Minister further added that on external front DoC has engaged with about 150 countries in the last few months. A task force on SEZs has also been set up to ensure that export potential from these zones is utilized fully. He informed the respective Ministries and Departments that DoC as well as the ITPO can organize road-shows and exhibitions for their sectors and products. Increased exports will also ensure that the capacity utilization of manufacturing units is maximised and their employment potential is fully utilized. Minister stated that a holistic approach to manufacturing and exports is the need of the hour as protectionist approach may actually have a negative impact on value added items of export. We need to push the idea of looking for new markets as well as exporting new products. Ministries should work out the strategy, and after receiving the plans, DoC will organize further meetings with export promotion councils, trading houses as well as major exporters. A ‘Best Exporting Ministry/Dept. Award’ will also be announced.
The Minister advised the EXIM bank to prepare an action plan to alleviate the financial difficulties being faced by exporters. Similarly the FPI sector can take the help of NABARD for financing their projects. The Minister announced that the arrangement for having inter-ministerial meetings to boost exports with concerned administrative ministries will be institutionalized by DoC.
Minister of State, Commerce & Industry, C. R. Chaudhary complimented CIM for having called this meeting and stated that while the Department of Commerce has taken many steps to boost exports, this by itself is not enough and there needs to be a complementarity with other Ministries/ Departments in this effort. He invited attention to stagnating exports in gem and jewellery, textiles and leather sectors and exhorted the Departments to come up with new proposals to boost exports in these areas.
Commerce Secretary, Smt. Rita Teaotia informed the officers that while there has been a 10% growth in merchandise exports in the current year, our share in global trade is static at 1.7% in merchandise exports and 3.4% is services exports. We need to look at new markets. While we have done well in US and Europe there has not been adequate focus on fast emerging markets in Asia. We need to focus more on exports to China, Latin America and Africa.
DGFT, Shri Alok Chaturvedi initiated the discussion by giving the trend of India’s trade data. He observed that India’s share of exports is high in goods which are less traded and low in goods that are traded more in the world. This needs to be realigned. DG highlighted the sectors where the export share of the sector in India’s exports is less compared to the share of the sector in world exports. These were identified as potential sectors. Growing world trade, Make in India campaign, enhancement in ease of doing business were identified as opportunities for enhancing exports. He stated that the Department of Commerce has great expectations from today’s meeting and we expect the departments/ ministries present to do a SWOT analysis and come up with sectoral export promotion strategy for the product groups pertaining to them.