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Doubling exports ‘ambitious but achievable', says FIEO chief

Removing infrastructure hurdles is key to reaching target.



Mr Ramu S. Deora, President, FIEO

G. Srinivasan

New Delhi, Jan 31

The Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) has said that the Government's indicative target of doubling the country's exports to $500 billion by 2014-15 is “ambitious but definitely achievable” provided it identified and addressed the massive infrastructure requirements to meet this milestone.

Talking to Business Line here, the new FIEO President, Mr Ramu S. Deora, said that 2011 began on a highly positive note for the exporting community as the authorities are hopeful that the current fiscal would end up with an export receipt of $220 billion, against the target of $200 billion. This would require a CARG of about 25 per cent.

But considering the fact that in 2010 world trade grew faster in the last five decades clocking 14 per cent growth and thereby surpassing the previously best achieved in 1976, this trend would only get strengthened in the coming years with the recovery in the US and the rest of the global economy picking up slowly but steadily.

However to translate the country's ambitious export target of doubling it from the current level, Mr Deora said, would entail a quantum jump in investment in roads, ports, airports, containers, power and telecoms, besides provisions for cold storage and refrigerated vans and warehouses for export perishable commodities.

Export credit

Even as the present bottlenecks in various infrastructure segments call for immediate intervention to ease movement of goods across the country, Mr Deora has welcomed the the Commerce Secretary, Dr Rahul Khullar's recent initiative to set up a study to look into the infrastructure requirement of exports for 2014-20.

Mr Deora also urged the Government to ensure export credit available to the industry at affordable rate in order to realise the long-term goal of doubling exports.

He said banks are currently borrowing from the central bank at 6.25 per cent (repo rate).

This together with the liquidity crunch and the brisk credit offtake had exerted pressure on interest rates, thereby impacting the cost of credit for the export segment adversely.

The fragile growth in the developed economies post-recession and an appreciating rupee, does not augur well for the exporters who find their margins narrowing.

He urged the authorities to help exporters in finding trade finance available at relatively cheaper rates and in sufficient quantum to ensure that their thin margins were not whittled down.

Pharma exports

Being in the pharmaceutical industry and ex-Chairman of CHEMEXIL, Mr Deora said that the country's pharmaceutical exports would reach Rs 50,000 crore this fiscal, against Rs 42,092 crore, clocking a robust 20 per cent growth.

He said the US would be the main market for India as drugs worth $36.7 billion are likely to be off patent this year, creating demand from overseas including from India.

He is confident that the domestic drug manufacturer/exporters would get 10 per cent of this US market in 2011, with Africa, Latin America and the Commonwealth of Independent Countries (CIS) becoming equally potential markets.

Bar coding norm

Mr Deora pointed out that as bar coding has been made mandatory for pharma exports to ensure traceability, drug and pharmaceutical exporters should comply with this norm as it would check spurious drugs which are being shipped from China and other countries to tarnish India's image.

geeyes@thehindu.co.in

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