New Delhi: India will seek new customers for overseas sales as recession in the US and Europe damp demand for the nation’s products, Union minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma said.
About 60% of our traditional export markets are in recession, Sharma said in New Delhi on Monday. India will be looking to expand its markets to make sure that our exports remain competitive, he said.
The worst global recession since the Great Depression has cut demand for made-in-Asia goods. Flagging exports are forcing Indian companies in sectors such as jewellery, textiles and leather to cut production, weakening an economy expected by the central bank to expand at the slowest pace since 2003.
The trade ministry will announce more assistance for exporters in a policy statement on 27 August, Sharma said. India’s exports dropped 27.7% in June from a year earlier to $12.8 billion, the ninth consecutive monthly decline.
Export views: Minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma. Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
The focus of the foreign-trade policy will be to provide relief to labour-intensive export sectors, Sharma said following a discussion on the proposed steps with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Mukherjee had in his 6 July Budget announced some relief measures for exporters including extending the deadline for cheap loans and giving them financial assistance to develop new overseas markets.
India’s exports in the June quarter declined 31.3% to $35.4 billion from a year ago, the government said on 3 August. Declining overseas sales have resulted in companies cutting 500,000 jobs in 10 industries, Sharma had said on 8 July.
India is also relying on trade agreements with other countries in a bid to bolster exports as the global recession drags on demand.
India last week signed a trade pact with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a move that may result in trade between the two increasing to as much as $60 billion from $47 billion last year.