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Exporters to explore new markets amid tough times: Khullar [Jan 2012]

Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar asked the Indian exporters to get the first mover advantage in new markets like Africa and Latin America as global economic environment is unlikely to improve in the near future.“However, it is within the realm of possibility to reach the annual export target of 300 billion dollars this year and take it to the level of 450 billion dollars by 2013-14”, he said while releasing a strategy paper by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).“The external environment is not good – especially in the European Union and the United States. The next two years are going to be difficult. There are going to be cutbacks in government expenditure, exchange rate fluctuations and financial sector problems.”Mr Khullar said, “Indian exporters should reduce the cost of doing business to gain competitiveness. India is negotiating free trade agreements with the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand. This will reduce tariff levels and provide access to new markets”. “We should create industrial clusters and upgrade infrastructure to get boost exports as rising imports could create serious balance of trade problem,” he said. “We should not be in a position that some liberalisation policies have to be rolled back.”
The commerce secretary said the rising fiscal deficit does not offer the possibility of any stimulus package for exporters. “We don’t have the money to throw at this point of time.”He said exporters should diversify their product basket and invest in research and development to infuse innovation in manufacturing processes. Meanwhile, ASSOCHAM president Dilip Modi called for procedural rationalisations and measures to enhance market access. To bring down transaction costs of manufacturers and exporters, the government must upgrade infrastructure by improving road connectivity and the decongesting ports.

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