India's exports to reach $750 billion by 2018-19: FIEO

NEW DELHI: India's exports are expected to reach $750 billion by 2018-19 with improvement in the global trade scenario, apex exporters body FIEO said today.

Global commerce is showing improvement and it is expected to grow at 4.7 per cent this year and 5.3 per cent in 2015, said the Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

 "We are optimistic that we would be able to cross $350 billion this fiscal. FIEO projects an export target of $750 billion by 2018-19. This would require a CAGR of 19.14 per cent during 2014-19," FIEO President Rafeeq Ahmed told reporters here.

He said India's traditional markets - the US and Europe - are also posting better economic results. These regions account for about 30 per cent of the country's exports. Slowdown in these western markets have severely impacted India's outbound shipments.

The country's exports in the last three years have been hovering at $300 billion. It was $312.35 billion, $300.4 billion and $307 billion in 2013-14, 2012-13 and 2011-12 respectively.

The government is taking several steps to boost the shipments. Soon it is expected to announce measures in the forthcoming foreign trade policy (FTP).

Ahmed said the Commerce Ministry should announce steps such as incentives for project exports, brand promotion, creation of export development fund, measures for service exports and affordable credit to exporters.

Besides, there is a need to revive special economic zones, he added. "There is a need for immediate withdrawal of minimum alternate tax and dividend distribution tax and restore the SEZ policy to its original form. This would go a long way in regaining trust and confidence of domestic and foreign investors."

Ahmed also suggested that the government give interest subsidy scheme benefit to all the sectors and exporters and extend it till March 2017.

To reduce transactions cost for exporters, FIEO D G Ajay Sahai said that time for approvals and clearances should be reduced besides simplification of procedures, reduction of documentation should be given top priority.

Ahmed also recommended that the government announce setting up of country and product specific export clusters or parks on the lines of SEZs.

"It will help in making India a manufacturing and export hub. Government should special emphasis on boosting manufacturing sector as it impacts exports too," he added.

Besides, he said, exporters need to explore markets such as Latin America, Russia and Africa. Exports growth slipped to 7.33 per cent in July after witnessing a double-digit expansion in the previous two months, pushing up the trade deficit to a year-high of $12.22 billion.

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