Tap opportunities in post-COVID world to take exports to $400B: PM Modi

In a meeting with heads of Indian Missions abroad and Export Promotion Councils, PM Narendra Modi urges the industry to expand the export basket to achieve an ambitious target of $400 billion.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called upon the industry and exporters to take advantage of opportunities created in the post-COVID scenario, explore new destinations, and expand the export basket to achieve the ambitious target of $400 billion of exports.

Addressing Indian missions and Export Promotion Councils on the country's target of $400 billion of merchandise exports this year, Modi said four factors, including multifold increase in manufacturing, reduction in logistics cost, and international market for domestic goods, can help boost the country's outbound shipments.

The Prime Minister also suggested the Indian missions abroad look at products in their respective countries that India can export.

At present, exports account for 20 per cent of India's GDP and "given the size of our economy, potential, manufacturing and base of services industry, there is a possibility" to increase this share.

In the post-COVID world, there is a debate on global supply chain and in that "we should use all our force" to tap new opportunities, Modi said.

Interacting with the heads of Indian Missions abroad and stakeholders of the trade and commerce sector via video conference, Modi said today the world is shrinking every day due to physical, technological and financial connectivity and in such an environment, new possibilities are being created around the world for the expansion of domestic exports.

The prime minister said India's ambitious target regarding exports can be achieved only through a holistic and detailed action plan.

He urged the "stakeholders to accelerate our existing exports and also work to create markets, new destinations for new products".

At present, almost half of the exports are to only four major destinations. Similarly, about 60 per cent of India's exports are related to engineering, gems and jewellery, petroleum and chemical products and pharmaceuticals.

New opportunities

PM Modi said with the opening of sectors like mining, coal, defence, railways, entrepreneurs are also getting new opportunities to increase exports.

Stressing on the importance of strengthening exports in regaining India's old share in the global economy, he said stakeholders should put all their efforts to take advantage of the new opportunities created by the changes in the global supply chain in the post-COVID world.

"Considering the size of our economy and potential, our manufacturing and service industry base, there is tremendous potential for export growth. When the country is moving towards the mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat, one of its goals is to increase India's share in exports manifold," Modi said.

The domestic industry will also have to move towards the best technology, focus on innovation and increase share in R&D, he said, adding while encouraging competition and excellence, "we have to prepare global champions in every sector".

The four factors that are important for increasing exports are: manufacturing, removal of problems of transport, logistics, walking shoulder to shoulder with exporters, and expanding the Indian product basket for the international market, he said.

"When these four factors are synergised, India will be able to achieve the goal of Make in India for the world in a better way," Modi said.

Recovery and growth

The prime minister noted that the Production Linked Incentive scheme will not only help in increasing the scale of manufacturing but also increase the level of global quality and efficiency.

Citing an example, he said seven years ago, India used to import mobile phones worth about $8 billion and now, it has come down to $2 billion. Similarly, seven years ago, the country used to export mobile phones worth only $ 0.3 billion and now it has increased to more than $3 billion.

Modi said today India is "seeing positive signs not only of recovery in the economy but also about high growth. Therefore, this is a good time to set high targets for exports and achieve them".

Talking about the role of states in achieving the export targets and implementing reforms, he said the central government is working closely with the states to minimise the regulatory burden so as to increase export and investment.

The prime minister asked ambassadors and officials from the Ministry of External Affairs to act as a bridge for the commerce industry here.

He urged that India Houses present in different countries should also be representative of the manufacturing power of India and requested the Ministry of Commerce to put in place such a system so that there is a constant communication between exporters and missions.

Focus on supply chain

The prime minister said for maximum benefit to our economy from our exports, there is a need to build a seamless and high-quality supply chain within the country as well.

For this, he requested all the exporters to strengthen partnerships with MSMEs, farmers, and fishermen, and also promote and support the Indian startups. He also asked the Commerce Ministry to arrange for a workshop initiative for the exporters, startups, investors to come together and understand each other's work.

He mentioned that the endeavour should be to create a natural demand for high value-added products of India in every nook and corner of the world.

"I assure the industry and all the exporters that the government will support them in every way," he said.

An official statement said that Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said while the theme of the event is local goes global, the Indian Missions also need to be globally local to help connect domestic producers with the demand in specific countries.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the global environment is favourable and we should look at leveraging comparative and competitive advantages with respect to other countries for increasing our exports.

[Additional inputs added for context]

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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