Economy

‘Global situation not to blame for fall in exports’

Domestic market is on the cusp of an expenditure boom

India cannot put the entire blame on the global environment for its poor export performance, according to a Crisil study.

While India’s share in global exports is declining, those of Bangladesh, Vietnam and China are still rising despite the adverse environment, according to the report. India’s merchandise exports had shrunk in 20 of the last 21 months.

Pointing out that many obstacles lie in India’s path to raise its export competitiveness, Crisil said to harness its full potential, India needs to remove bottlenecks, capture the space vacated by China, integrate faster with the world and improve international competitiveness of its key exports.

However, in the paper titled ‘Bifocal, please: ‘Make in India’ needs to lean on both exports and domestic demand,’ Crisil also said that “while India needs to bend over backwards to find export avenues, its domestic market is on the cusp of an expenditure boom.”

Dual path

Encouraging policymakers to put the country on a ‘dual path’ – of striking a balance between export-led and domestic demand-led growth strategies of focusing on exports as well as domestic market, the paper said: “India will need to nurture its export potential to make its goods competitive, yet lean on fast-expanding domestic demand to promote its manufacturing sector.”

“There are two roads, and India must necessarily walk both, to achieve the full potential of its Make in India programme,” it said.

The bottlenecks, which India need to remove to raise its export competitiveness, include rigidity in labour laws, challenges associated with land acquisition, inadequate physical infrastructure (roads, ports and electricity), and poorly skilled manpower. These have held back manufacturing sector growth, Crisil said. It cited World Bank data to show that cost to exports (in 2014) in India was $1,332 per container, while that of Bangladesh was $1,281, China ($823), Vietnam ($610) and Indonesia ($572).



China up

On the need for India to capture the space vacated by China, the paper stated that China has been moving up the value chain, exiting the low value-added manufacturing space (textiles, apparel, footwear, toys).

This, along with rising wages in China and the Centre’s strategy to focus on domestic demand, means more export opportunities will become available to other competing economies and India must strive to capture the space.

However, it said, “Data suggest this hasn’t happened so far.

For instance, India’s share in world exports has remained more or less similar between 2001 and 2015 in textiles and apparel, while it has increased manifold for Bangladesh and Vietnam.

In footwear too, Vietnam’s share in world exports zoomed, while India’s share stagnated.”

On the recommendation that India needs to integrate faster with the world, Crisil said, “India must move fast to renew its stalled trade negotiations with the EU and the ongoing dialogue in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RECP, a proposed free trade pact between 16 Asia-Pacific nations including India).

Crisil also said the revealed comparative advantage (RCA), a measure of international competitiveness, for some of India’s key export items, has declined in the past decade.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 5:24:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/%E2%80%98Global-situation-not-to-blame-for-fall-in-exports%E2%80%99/article16435759.ece

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