Ahmedabad: While global trade took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, Indian exports showed a turnaround after December last year and are still going strong, a Commerce Ministry official said on Monday.
While presenting promising figures about Indian trade and exports, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce Amitabh Kumar also stressed on increasing India’s share in global exports, which currently stand 1.6 per cent, and also highlighted the need to change the duty structure for some goods.
“Global trade was disrupted significantly during the pandemic. However India’s exports showed a turnaround since December 2020 onwards and performing extremely well thereafter. However, the full potential of trade remains to be tapped. We have to work continuously to increase India’s share in global exports from the current 1.6 per cent,” said Kumar.
“We understand that there is a need to bring in required changes in the duty structure of some of the goods in our country,” opined Kumar during his address at a pre-summit organized by the Gujarat government as part of the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, to be held in Gandhinagar next month.
The theme of this pre-Vibrant Gujarat Summit was “Local Goes Global – Export Led Growth”.
“In so far as the merchandise trade performance is concerned, the government is closely monitoring and pushing hard for a target driven merchandise export performance of USD 400 billion in the current fiscal by engaging with all stakeholders across states and reaching the districts,” he said in his address.
Apart from industry leaders, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was also present at the event.
“Export growth has been robust in 2021-22. Merchandise exports remained above US dollars 30 billion for 7 consecutive months during April to October, and October in particular was an unusually high export performance period with the highest ever merchandise exports being recorded at US dollars 35.65 billion,” Kumar added.
The total merchandise export during April to November 2021 was valued at USD 262.5 billion, a growth of 50.7 per cent as compared to USD 174.16 billion in April to November 2020-21, Kumar said.
He added that the top five export items in April to November 2021-22 were engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, organic and inorganic chemicals, and drugs and pharmaceuticals.
He said the Department of Commerce is engaging with five countries or regions – the EU, the UK, Canada, Australia and the UAE – for early conclusion of a free trade agreement or FTA.
During the event, Kumar urged entrepreneurs to start manufacturing nearly 100 items which are currently imported but can be made locally.
“We have prepared and shared a list of 102 items that India has been importing and where there is potential for increasing domestic manufacturing capabilities. I would like industry leaders to look for such opportunities as it serves the dual purposes of enhancing domestic capacity and also reducing dependence on imports,” he said.