India's exports grow 24 percent April-October

Wednesday, 17 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: India's merchandise exports continue to expand at a robust pace, achieving a 23.73 percent cumulative growth rate during the first seven months of the current fiscal, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said Wednesday.

Releasing the trade data for April-October at the Economic Editors' Conference here, Kamal Nath said the merchandise exports crossed the $40 billion mark to touch $40.29 billion, against $32.5 billion in the same period of last fiscal.

"Despite the rocking of the boat because of high crude prices, we continued to register a robust 24 percent growth. We should reach $75 billion in merchandise exports this fiscal," the minister added.

Trade data, Kamal Nath said, suggested an across the board increase in exports to all major trade destinations. While the European Union accounted for 22 percent of the country's exports, the US had 17.4 percent.

The growth in exports to these two destinations were placed at 22.7 percent and 24 percent respectively, he said, adding that exports to China expanded at an even faster pace of 71.9 percent.

Shifting to imports, the minister said India imported goods worth $54.73 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal, which was 31.97 percent higher than $41.47 billion during the corresponding period of last fiscal.

He attributed the surge to high crude oil prices in international markets. India imports some 70 percent of its crude oil needs.

Kamal Nath also told the conference that his ministry has set up separate monitoring committees for each of the five thrust areas of exports identified by the government.

These areas are agriculture, handicrafts, handlooms, gems and jewellery, and leather and foot ware.

"These committees will have representatives of trade and industry as well as experts and senior officials at the level of joint secretary from each of the concerned ministries," the conference was informed.

The minister also announced a task force, to be chaired by the director general of foreign trade, for suggesting ways by which industry can reduce transaction costs by simplifying export procedures.

Meanwhile, Kamal Nath told the parliamentary consultative committee of the commerce and industry ministry that the government was reviewing the country's iron ore export policy keeping in mind the needs of the domestic industry.

During a meeting here Wednesday, members of the consultative committee unanimously favoured placing curbs on exports of iron ore in the interest of domestic industry and to encourage value-added earnings.

Some members wanted canalising high-grade iron ore exports through the state-owned MMTC and placing curbs on other grades of the commodity to prevent misuse.

Source: IANS
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