EXPORTS MAY TOUCH $ 75 BILLION THIS FISCAL: KAMAL NATH
Date : 23 Sep 2004
Location : New Delhi
India’s merchandise exports may touch a level of US $ 75 billion during the current financial year 2004-05 if the level of growth witnessed this fiscal so far is sustained and all efforts are being made in this direction. This was stated by Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, while addressing the Forum of Financial Writers here today. India’s merchandise exports during April-August 2004-05 recorded a growth of 26% over the corresponding period of last year. "The challenge is to strive for sustaining the growth rate at 20% and above for the next five years…. The export target for the current financial year 2004-05 is pegged at 16%. But I am determined that we shall exceed this. I want it to be at least 20%", he added.
The Minister said that three weeks ago he had announced a comprehensive Foreign Trade Policy 2004-09 with a preamble which clearly laid down the context, objectives and the strategies to achieve India’s goals in the foreign trade sector – the objectives being to double India’s percentage share in the global trade within the next five years and to ensure that it acts as a effective instrument of economic growth linked to development and employment. He reiterated that "exports are vital for generation of employment and stimulation of economic activity, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas. An integrated approach to economic policy linked to external trade is, therefore, of critical importance to the health of economy. And the Foreign Trade Policy is an important step in this direction".
He said that the SEZ Act would be introduced shortly in order to boost the confidence of investors about the stability of India’s SEZ Policy.
Referring to the phase out of MFA quotas from January 2005, the Minister noted that there would be opportunities as well as challenges and emphasised that "the issues of capacity expansion, technology upgradation and R&D and infrastructural bottlenecks must be addressed on priority if we are to substantially increase our share of the world textile trade, post-MFA". The proposed National Conference on Textiles scheduled for next month should provide useful insights into the post-MFA scenario for India, he said.
On WTO issues, Shri Kamal Nath reiterated the crucial role played by India during the negotiations in Geneva last July, leading to the adoption of the Framework Agreement. "We have succeeded in incorporating sufficient provisions to ensure that livelihood of our farmers is not affected. In non-agricultural market access (NAMA), the negotiations will create additional market access for our industries through tariff reduction in non-agricultural products of particular interest to developing countries". Removal of three of the four Singapore issues from the Doha agenda was an important achievement for India, while commencement of negotiations on trade facilitation would benefit India as it would help reduce transaction costs in India’s exports. "We strongly believe that trade facilitation would ensure greater participation in international trade by small and medium enterprises, reduce transaction cost estimated to be between 6% to 10%", he added.