Exploration of new markets, rise in demand in Western markets help

Continuing with its upward trend, India's handicraft exports recorded a 18 per cent growth year-on-year at $555 million during the first quarter of the current financial year due to exploration of new markets and increased demand in the traditional Western markets.

During April-June 2010-11, the labour intensive sector exported goods worth $469.80 million. “The growth in exports is mainly from the U.S. and European markets,” Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) chairman, Arvind Vadhera told reporters here on Wednesday.

However, Mr. Vadhera said that the growth was not on the expected lines. In June, overseas shipments grew by 22.34 per cent to $166.66 million from $136.23 million in the same month last year. The main items in the handicrafts segment which registered healthy growth during April-June 2011-12 include art metalware, woodware and imitation jewellery. The sector employs almost 76 lakh people.

EPCH Executive Director Rakesh Kumar said they would be petitioning the Commerce Ministry to remove obstacles being faced by the sector in further pumping up its growth and seek measures to give a major thrust to exports. Further, he said that in order to boost exports to Latin American economies, exporters were planning to set up a warehouse in Uruguay.

Mr. Kumar said the EPCH would also take its case to the Government for granting Rs.100 crore each for seven cities, including Ferozabad and Varanasi for skill development and technological upgradation facilities.

A delegation of the EPCH representatives led by Mr. Vadhera would meet the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) regarding the export sectoral review exercise.

“We would ask the DGFT to provide special status to cities like Ferozabad as glassware centre and Varanasi for zari and zari products. The government should restore the deemed exports benefit to the dealer or shopkeeper for sale of handicraft items to foreign tourists in foreign exchange,” he added.

Mr. Kumar said the US and European markets were getting back into rhythm and Indian exporters were witnessing demand surge due to potential placement of new orders for the Christmas season.

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