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Last updated: 12 May, 2020  

Exports.9.Thmb.jpg Exports opportunities arising out of COVID-19

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Bikky Khosla | 12 May, 2020

A global rating agency last week said that the Indian economy will not grow in the current financial year due to the “deep shock” triggered by the Coronavirus outbreak. No doubt, the ongoing nationwide lockdown has severely impacted the economy, but fortunately economists see a bounce-back to 6.6 percent growth in FY22. Our export sector is also bearing the brunt of the global pandemic, but yet it seems the crisis has brought in an opportunity for the sector to become the biggest growth engine for the Indian economy in coming days.

According to a recent report, India’s plastic exporters are now seeking to grab China’s share in the global market. Already, several countries, which hold China responsible for global spread of COVID-19, are looking alternative supply sources. Compared to China’s 10 percent share in the $1 trillion global plastic exports, India’s present share is only about one percent. Due to a ban imposed by the Chinese authority on plastic scrap imports two years ago, plastic production costs already went up there, and now the backlash against China offers an opportunity to Indian exporters.

A similar opportunity is there when it comes to exports of masks. Currently, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina are some major exporters of masks, and now India can be an alternative to China, that even at a time when the habit of wearing masks is catching up on people worldwide. Again, India is already a major producer of generic drugs, and now the opportunity is to move beyond it, as a provider of low-cost, high quality medicine as well as medical related services.

An economic research report by State Bank of India last week said that India -- presently only with just 1.7 percent in global merchandise exports -- can look at incremental exports growing by $20 billion (in the least favourable outcome) to a significant $193 billion jump in the five-year horizon if it builds its capabilities and captures share from China. It points out to sectors, such as consumer goods, particularly food products, where the government can give a direct push to this sector. Such opportunities abound.

I invite our opinions.

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