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
we performing to
best of our potential?
invite your opinions.