Exporters can overcome the problem of global economic slowdown by focusing on new markets, Sumanta Chaudhuri, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, said here on Friday.

Addressing a group of engineering exporters at an interactive meeting organised by EEPC India (formerly known as Engineering Export Promotion Council), he said that from 2008-09, the exporters had faced problems in global economy. But, they were able to overcome the problems by diversifying to other markets. During the last 10 years the exporting community and the Government had taken conscious efforts to diversify to new markets. “We need to reach out more to east and central Europe, Latin American countries, and Africa,” he said.

The Ministry of Commerce studied five big markets in central and eastern European region and the commodities they imported. Many of these were engineering products.

The current global situation was not the kind one could hope for. Though Indian economy was still growing, it was also affected. The growth rate had come down. This had an impact on exports. The country had seen a decline in exports so far during 2012-13. Last financial year, the Ministry of Commerce envisaged that exports would double in three years.

About 20 per cent of India’s exports were engineering goods. Hence, if the engineering sector does not do well on exports, it had an impact on the overall exports. The problem of global demand had to be factored in. Unlike 2008-09, several countries faced fiscal deficit problems now. Hence, governments faced constraints in extending incentives to exports.

Another factor that was significant for the engineering sector was that 70 per cent of the turnover of the engineering units was from the domestic market. It was expected to see some recovery soon and should give a boost to exports too. The Department of Commerce continued to focus on measures to bring down transaction costs and infrastructure was also an area of priority, he said.

The participants pointed out that power was a major problem to the manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu.