Bikky Khosla | 28 Aug, 2018
Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu
on Monday chaired a
meeting of different exports stakeholders to discuss a strategy for doubling
India’s exports by 2025. According to the minister, this is necessary in view
of the ongoing uncertainty in global trade. At a time when a trade war started
President Trump is threatening the global trade order, this view sounds quite
logical. The sector is already facing no dearth of challenges, and with the
global trade war escalating, we must now brace for a changing world.
It deserves mention that the
Commerce Ministry has already held two meetings with key Ministries for
preparing sectoral export strategies. Exporters' body FIEO has also done a
study identifying 100 billion exports in traditional, new markets and products.
Similarly, the EXIM Bank has conducted market research and a draft export
strategy is being prepared. Additionally, the Union Cabinet has already
approved a proposal to give focused attention to 12 identified Champion
Services Sectors. These efforts are welcome. We need to find a way out to
improve and promote our exports.
However, protectionism cannot
be the solution. Recently, the government said that a task force
has been set up to identify various items and policy interventions for reducing
India's import dependence. I think such inward-looking policies may do more
harm than good. Instead, we should look for better alternatives. A new report
at least 100 products where India can replace US exports to China by benefiting
from the ongoing tariff war. Such approaches can definitely be more beneficial.
Meanwhile, a report
last week points out that imports of non-oil items like coal, electronics and
leather products are contributing in a big way to India’s import bill. Most
importantly, it is domestic supply constraint that is responsible for such high
imports. While avoiding protectionism, there is no harm in cutting down such
unnecessary imports by increasing efficiency of the domestic supply chain.
I invite your