Export growth in H1 may help India beat FY11 target: Sharma

Export growth in H1 may help India beat FY11 target: Sharma

New Delhi: Robust growth of over 27% in exports during the first six months of fiscal 2010-11 has fuelled hopes that India may cross the trade target of $200 billion for the entire fiscal, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said on Sunday in New Delhi.

In April-September this fiscal, Indian exports aggregated to $103.30 billion, a 27.6% increase vis-a-vis the corresponding year-ago period.

“In the first six months, we have achieved USD 103 billion (worth of exports) and am sure that we will be on course to complete USD 200 billion (target) and go beyond," Sharma said after inaugurating the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF).

India’s exports, which declined by over 3% to $178.75 billion in 2009-10, shot up by an annualized 23.2% in September this year to a two-year high of $18.02 billion.

Stressing on the need to increase India’s share of global trade, Sharma said, “By 2014, we expect to double India’s export of goods and services. It shall be our endeavour that industry and government work in tandem and work closely to achieve this target as well."

To reduce dependence on US and European markets, the minister said exporters have been encouraged to look beyond traditional destinations at new markets like Africa, Latin America and the Far East.

To pave the way for greater engagement with other regions, India had last year signed two trade pacts with Korea and the Asean grouping.

Sharma said in January 2011, India will sign two more Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA), one with Malaysia and another with Japan, and will commence negotiations for a separate pact with Indonesia.

The CEPA, or free trade agreement, with Japan would reduce or eliminate tariffs on over 90% of goods traded between the two nations. The negotiations were concluded during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Tokyo last month. The pact will be implemented in April.

The negotiations on a free trade agreement with Malaysia were concluded in October during the Prime Minister’s visit to Malaysia. The agreement will come into effect from 1 July 2011.

Emphasizing that the country will go for more free trade agreements, Sharma said, “We will be launching more (FTAs) and we are in the final stages of concluding a broad-based agreement with the EU."

He added that once these become fully operationalized, in the next five years, exports would increase dramatically.

Sharma further said the commerce ministry is pursuing the matter with the ministry of urban development and Delhi Development Authority to establish a world-class exhibition and convention facility at the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO).

“We have taken many steps. Hopefully, before this year is out, things should roll out and definitely in the tenure of this government itself, Delhi will have one of the finest world-class facilities," he said.

In November, 2009, the government announced its decision to build a world-class convention centre in New Delhi to bridge the infrastructure gap for holding global conferences, exhibitions and business events.

The 30th edition of the IITF, which is being organized by the ITPO, is expected to register about 1 million footfalls.

This year, Maharashtra is the partner state for the exhibition, while Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have been chosen as the focus states at the fair.