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Last updated: 28 Aug, 2018  

Exports.9.Thmb.jpg Need of a new export strategy

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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 by US 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 has identified 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 opinions.

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