Asserting that the diversification and market product focus policy had started bearing fruit, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma on Thursday said that exports were on the path of positive growth for the third consecutive month, recording a 11.5 per cent growth in January at $14.3 billion. In January 2009, these stood at $12.9 billion.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Sharma said this had been possible due to the adoption of the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) that had focussed on new markets and new products. “We could not have waited for revival of the traditional markets in the U.S. and Europe and adopted a cautious but proactive approach. It has started paying rich dividends but we cannot be complacent,” he added.

Revealing the January export numbers, Mr. Sharma said, “Between now and March 31, we hope to maintain and further strengthen the growth, which will help us in registering healthy export figures and reducing gap (dip in year-on-year exports) substantially.”

Exports were hit badly by slump in demand in key markets in the wake of global financial crisis and fell continuously for 13 months and dipped to around 39 per cent in May 2009. However, the trend was reversed under the new FTP in November 2009 by growing 18.2 per cent. In December, the rise was 9.3 per cent. The rising trend of the past three months mirrors that the outward shipments have come out of the woods.

Cautioning against abrupt withdrawal of the stimulus package, Mr. Sharma said it was still early to feel upbeat as some sectors were still struggling to come out of the bad phase. He said engineering goods, textiles, jute, carpets, handicrafts and leather “continue to do badly” and were a cause for concern. He further said that though there had been recovery in global economy it would take time for the demand for Indian goods to return to pre-recession level.

During April-January 2009-10, exports were about $133 billion against $144.2 billion in the year-ago period. In the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14, the government had set an export target of $200 billion for 2010-11.

More In: Industry | Business