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Last updated: 23 Jan, 2018  

Exports.9.Thmb.jpg Exports on the right track!

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Bikky Khosla | 23 Jan, 2018
Export figures for the month of December, 2017 came as a pleasant surprise again. It is the second consecutive month of growth. In November, the sector, after a fall in the previous month, had registered a whopping 30.55 percent y-o-y growth to $26.19 billion, and again in December it achieved 12.36 percent growth to $27.03 billion. Cumulative value of exports for the period April- December stood at $223.5 billion. With the latest figures, the $300 billion target for 2017-18 fiscal year seems quite achievable.

It is good to see that 21 out of 30 major export product groups were in positive territory in December. Engineering, which registered 25.3 percent growth, and petroleum products, with their 25.15 percent contribution to overall exports, played the key role in propelling the figures in the month. Additionally, sectors like organic and inorganic chemicals and drugs and pharmaceuticals showed healthy growth. However, it is disappointing to see a declining trend in apparel exports.

Concerns have also been raised for some time now that India is not performing as good as its Asian peers. Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea have outperformed India in exports in the April-October 2017 period, and this raises question about India's export competitiveness. Additionally, our SME-populated and labour-intensive sectors like gems and jewellery, apparel and leather – despite showing growth on a low base – still seem to be struggling under the new tax regime.

It is difficult to deny that the growth momentum in global trade is likely to continue this year. Additionally, the effects of the last year's disruptions are also gradually disappearing. Steps like simplification of the process for exporters to claim refunds under the new tax regime have also brought some relief to the sector. So, the scenario should further improve in the coming months. But the question still remains – are we performing to the best of our potential?

I invite your opinions.

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