Buoyed by the surge in demand for Indian pharmaceutical, engineering and chemical goods in markets abroad, the government on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy to double the exports to $500 billion during the next three years.
“We must aim for more than a doubling of exports in the three years to $500 billion. This is achievable with a determined effort. We cannot afford any less than this,’’ stated the strategy paper released by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma here. For achieving the $500 billion mark, the country's exports should grow annually by 26.7 per cent.
Mr. Sharma said the strategy hinges on aggressive marketing of “Brand India” and reducing export transaction costs to make exports more competitive and viable. The export drive would be led by sectors like engineering, gems and jewellery, chemicals, pharmaceutical and textiles.
In a splendid performance, exports surpassed the target of $200 billion and aggregated $246 billion in 2010-11 despite slow demand and financial problems in some European markets. The surge in exports came mainly from the U.S., some Western European markets and new destinations like Latin America and Africa.
According to the strategy paper 2011-14, increased imports were unavoidable for feeding an economy which aspires to grow by 9-10 per cent. “We have, therefore, no option but to focus on higher export growth and devise a strategy for rapidly increasing merchandise exports to ensure that the Balance of Trade (BoT) and Current Account Deficit (CAD) remain within manageable limits,’’ it said.
The strategy paper’s main focus is on - product strategy, market strategy, technology, research and development and building brand India. “At product level, the potential sectors which would help in doubling exports include engineering goods, chemicals and electronics. The government expects engineering goods exports to touch $125 billion from the current $60 billion and shipments of pharmaceuticals products to reach $25 billion from $10 billion in 2013-14,’’ he remarked.
He said the target is to increase chemical exports to $12 billion and electronic goods to $17 billion by 2013-14. ``In addition, we are also looking at labour intensive sectors like gems and jewellery, leather and textiles. For the leather sector, the government has set a target of $9 billion and for textiles $42 billion in the next three years. For gems and jewellery exports, the target is $70 billion from the current $33.54 billion,’’ he said.
Under marketing strategy, the document said there is need to focus on new markets like Asia, South America, Pacific and Far East. “We are going to give incentives to these regions. We will take it forward having preferential trade agreements, free trade pacts in these regions to ensure that our industry and exporters have a better access in these markets,’’ Mr. Sharma said.
The Commerce Ministry would also promote high technology exports which would cover biotechnology, electronic hardware, automobiles, computer based smart engineering, environmental goods and high-end areas of aerospace engineering.