Commerce Ministry to evaluate imports periodically
New Delhi (10th Sept, 2014): Worried over high trade deficit, the Commerce Ministry has put in place a mechanism for periodic and regular appraisal of imports.
Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said there are several areas where imports need to be appraised.
"We are trying and seeing how we can encourage industry to manufacture those products. We required to reduce our dependence on imports.
"In order to do that, there is an institutional mechanism which we have put in place in the Department of Commerce for a periodic and regular import appraisal and in consultation with relevant departments to take policy measures to try and help the trade deficit not to go beyond a manageable limits," he said.
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 one-year high of USD 12.22 billion.
In 2012-13, the country's trade deficit touched an all time high of USD 190 billion.
Meanwhile an official statement said while the global environment still remains challenging, policy action in India has been repositioned so as to better tackle the negative impact of external shocks.
As per the current rankings, India is the 19th largest exporter (with a share of 1.7 per cent) and 12th largest importer (with a share of 2.5 per cent) of merchandise trade in the world.
In commercial services, India is the sixth largest exporter (with a share of 3.3 per cent) and seventh largest importer (with a share of 2.9 per cent).
The government will orgainse an international trade fair on services in April 2015. India?s share in world trade (merchandise and services) has increased from 1.77 per cent in 2008 to 2.27 per cent in 2013. "Our goal is to raise this to 3.5 per cent by 2018-19," it said.
It said that focused action and reforms to increase exports of business, professional, tourism, health care and logistic services, R&D, consulting, printing and publishing, telecom, construction, educational, entertainment services
"Attempt greater liberalisation of services in the WTO," it added.
To boost project exports, it said that focus will be on regions like Africa, West Asia, CIS countries, ASEAN and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Further it said the export diversification policy pursued by the government needs to be accelerated by expanding both the range of products and number of countries.
"Indian exports should move up the value chain. Export of branded goods needs to be encouraged by promoting individual brands. Manufacturing exports require strong brand promotion," it said.