India's exports crossed the $300-billion mark, achieving the target set by the Commerce and Industry Ministry for 2011-12.

However, the rising import bill inflated by high crude oil prices and import of gold and silver pushed the trade deficit to a whopping $185 billion, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told journalists here.

Imports shot up by 38 per cent to $485 billion in the last fiscal.

Mr. Sharma said the export target was achieved despite lower export demand from traditional markets and the eurozone crisis as outbound shipments grew in new markets of Latin America and Africa.

“We are on course, despite the difficult global scenario and the contraction of demand in some of the traditional destinations and the eurozone crisis,'' he said, releasing the provisional trade data.

Mr. Sharma said imports increased mainly due to high crude oil prices and huge demand for gold and silver. Consequently, the trade deficit was estimated to have widened to $185 billion from $104.4 billion in 2010-11.

“Our current account deficit and the trade deficit are a challenge. Both are under stress. The country would devise a strategy in its upcoming foreign trade policy to regulate and address the growing trade gap,'' he remarked.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said the sectors that led to higher exports included gems and jewellery, textiles, petroleum, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

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