New Delhi: Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday said he will hold consultations with the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee shortly before finalising the foreign trade policy.
Replying to questions in Rajya Sabha, he said the export-import or foreign trade policy for 2009-10 fiscal would be announced in August.
“We will be discussing again with finance minister before we roll out foreign trade policy in August,” he said.
The discussions with finance minister would be on the fiscal and monetary measures that may be required for exports to tide over global economic slowdown.
Sharma, however, did not say when he would be meeting Mukherjee.
Slowdown in developed and industrialised economies has “adversely impacted our trade,” he said adding exports had sharply declined since October 2008.
But during last two months they have recovered, he said pointing to arresting of the steep fall.
World Trade Organisation has projected that global trade will shrink by 9-11% because of the recession in developed countries like the US, Europe and Japan. IMF has projected 12% drop.
“The decline is sharper in developed countries where economy, for first time in 30 years, will go in negative because of fall in demand and drop in prices of capital goods,” he said.
Sharma said the monthly trade deficit was $10 billion per month last year which during the past three months of current year has halved to $5 billion.
Efforts are being made to increase exports by diversifying market away from the traditional markets of US and Europe, he said.
The minister said the global slowdown has had adverse impact on some labour intensive sectors like gems and jewellery, handlooms, textiles and leather.
The two stimulus packages announced constituted 3.5% of the GDP and has been effective in arresting the fall in exports.
He said during 2003-04, India’s merchandise trade was around $142 billion — with exports around $64 billion and imports around $78 billion.
This has in 2008-09 increased to around $456 billion, with exports at $169 billion and imports at $287 billion.
“Accordingly, during the policy period 2004-09, India’s merchandise trade increased more than three times,” he said.
India’s share in global trade has increased from 0.92% in 2003 to 1.53% in 2007. The WTO has not released figures for 2008 but India’s share is likely to be around 1.60%, he added.