With the economic growth continuing its downward slide and the global situation remaining grim, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, on Friday, said given the present circumstances it would be difficult to achieve the $500 billion export target set for 2013-14.
This assessment by Mr. Sharma comes soon after exports registered a meagre 3.2 per cent year-on-year rise to $24.4 billion in April 2012. The continued slowdown and worrying export situation has sent the government into the consultation mode with sops likely to be announced for labour-intensive sector in the next few days.
Despite heavy odds facing the economy, he was hopeful that exports would be able to register a 20 per cent growth. “It is a question of supporting labour-intensive sectors. We have to take a holistic view to ensure that we should remain competitive globally. It is important for India to have a sustained thrust on exports,” he said.
The sharp deceleration in import growth to 3.8 per cent to $37.9 billion resulted in trade deficit narrowing to $13.2 billion, the lowest in the last seven months. Reduction in trade gap would at least lessen worries arising out of sharp decline in rupee against the U.S. dollar.
The Foreign Trade Policy is scheduled to be announced on June 5.
Finance Secretary R. S. Gujral asserted that the depreciation of the Indian rupee would ultimately help exporters in the long-run. “The depreciation of rupee prima facie would help exporters in terms of higher realisation in terms of rupee. Overall, in the long-term, it would help the exporters,” he said after the meeting of Board of Trade (BoT) chaired by Mr. Sharma.
At the same time, he said the weakening rupee was hurting importers badly. The rupee was trading at 55.92 against the U.S. dollar at the inter-bank foreign exchange market.