Seeking to shift the focus of the country towards manufacturing, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Thursday said textile and leather exports would gain from China’s policy shift towards boosting domestic consumption.

“In China's 12th Plan, exports do not hold the same place. Besides, the Chinese will be vacating the lower end of value spectrum like textiles and leather. So who will replace them? Are we going to step in or will it be Vietnam or Turkey or Indonesia?’’ Mr. Ahluwalia said in New Delhi.

Mr. Ahluwalia said Indian manufacturers should step up exports in sectors like footwear where China dominates. “The advanced economies have no interest in replacing the gap from a fall in China’s exports of labour-intensive products by resorting to local manufacturing. This is where our focus should be for the next five years,’’ he added.

He said Indian products would be more competitive as wages increase in China, as a result of its departure from its three-decade-old policy of export-oriented growth. Under its new plan, China is aiming for 13 per cent annual growth in wages in its bid to boost domestic consumption. It has also signalled its intention to put more emphasis on high-end capital intensive exports.

He said the time had come for sectors like textiles, garments and leather to join hands with the government for promoting skill development. “A growth rate of 9-9.5 per cent over five years of the 12th Plan is something we should be thinking about. Sectors like leather have a key role to play in it and also ensuring more employment for the country's youth,’’ Mr. Ahluwalia said.

Mr. Ahluwalia said leather and garments were among a dozen segments for which special support would be extended during India’s own 12{+ }th Plan (2012-17). As per the latest data, Indian exports registered the highest ever growth of 37.5 per cent at $245.9 billion during 2010-11, after the government diversified its exports, earlier destined to Western countries, to new markets like East Asia, Latin America and Africa.

India aims to achieve $450 billion in exports by 2013-14. China’s overseas shipments were more than $1.5 trillion in 2010.

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