Coronavirus Lockdown: Commerce minister Piyush Goyal expects better exports performance in May, June

The performance of the country's exports is expected to be better in May and June as compared to the steep fall recorded in April, when the shipments contracted to an all-time high of 60.28 percent, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday

Press Trust of India May 28, 2020 20:06:14 IST
Coronavirus Lockdown: Commerce minister Piyush Goyal expects better exports performance in May, June

New Delhi: The performance of the country's exports is expected to be better in May and June as compared to the steep fall recorded in April, when the shipments contracted to an all-time high of 60.28 percent, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

He said that while April was quite a "washout with 60 percent fall, my sense is that in May, it will grow significantly and the reduction will be around 30-35 percent. We have to wait for the numbers," Goyal said while addressing CII's Export Summit organised through video-conferencing.

In June, he said, exports will either be at par with June 2019 or at most 10 percent down.

Going forward, the three factors that would drive the economy would be the revival of manufacturing, diversification of export basket and focussing on newer and "more accepting" markets, Goyal said.

Goyal added that three main things -- reviving manufacturing, diversifying export basket, focusing on newer and accepting markets -- will drive the economy going forward.

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Further, he said Indian industries, entrepreneurs and start-ups should see what new markets have opened up domestically for them and work on those.

"Our agriculture export potential is huge. Rice, including Basmati, animal husbandry products and organic products, among many others, we have an opportunity to work together as partners and expand India's footprint," he said adding that diversification along with consolidation will help grow product basket and expan India's presence horizontally across the world.

He said building upon the domestic demands, with surplus going to export, will push India to newer heights.

The minister emphasised that the diversification of exports, in addition to consolidating current areas of strength, is necessary for the Indian economy to grow.

The ministry, he said, is working on identifying several sectors that holds potential for the domestic industry.

He added that the sectors include auto components, furniture, air conditioners (ACs), set-top boxes, pharma, organic products, agri-chemicals, textiles, toys and lithium-ion batteries.

"Why we should be importing auto components. That needs to be changed. Why we should import $2 billion worth of furniture. Why we are importing ACs and components like compressors... We are looking at promoting APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) in India," Goyal said.

The ministry has asked Nasscom to look at the strategy for $500-billion IT services exports in the next five years, he said.

Contracting for the second straight month, India's exports shrank by a record 60.28 percent in April to $10.36 billion, mainly on account of the coronavirus lockdown. Imports also plunged by 58.65 percent to $17.12 billion in April, leaving a trade deficit of $6.76 billion as against $15.33 billion in April 2019.

Earlier, Director General of Foreign Trade Amit Yadav said exports to China have grown and imports have reduced in May.

He also said there is a need to address hidden cost associated with exports and ensure that no taxes are added to outbound shipments.

"We have misaligned our export priorities, where 70 percent of India's exports are in raw materials that is only 30 percent of global product demand. Only 30 percent of our exports are in electronics which make 70 percent of global demand. India's share in this is 0.7 percent," he said.

P Harish, additional secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, said that the Indian industry should focus on areas like standards and quality of products.

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