The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in a 10-point agenda for increasing India's exports of goods and services in line with the Prime Minister's vision of an "Atma Nirbhar Bharat", has said the country must aim to achieve 5% share in world merchandise exports and 7% in services exports by 2025. India's goods exports declined to $313 billion in 2019-20, and its share in global merchandise exports stands at 1.67%. In services, the export sector enjoys 3.54 per cent share.
The CII report, titled 'Re-orienting India's Export Endeavour in the Covid-19 World', states the pandemic provides a big opportunity for India to better engage with the world and boost its export performance. "The pandemic situation has impacted world trade negatively...this is an opportune time for India to strengthen its domestic manufacturing through a strong partnership between the Government and Industry," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said.
He added as more countries are looking at realigning their trading strategies and diversifying their import, India must leverage it by emerging as an alternative destination for sourcing cost-effective, quality products. Outlining 10 areas where the action is required to boost exports, the CII report urges the Centre to provide open and facilitative import environment to attract global companies. It also seeks higher duties on finished goods and lower duties on intermediates.
The CII says the Centre should bring in the Foreign Trade Policy at the earliest to establish a predictable export policy regime. Export finance must also be expanded, it said, adding that the Interest Equalisation Scheme should be extended for another two years for all exporters. The report says the Centre must strengthen Export Credit Guarantee Corporation to raise resources and lower risks.
"Four, trade facilitation can be strengthened through digital tools for faster movement of goods at the border," it said. The CII also vouched for the extension of the Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) to boost hinterland connectivity.
The CII also wants the Centre to carry out the Ease of Doing Business reforms to enhance competitiveness, with monitoring at the Chief Secretary level. Time-bound approvals and effective on-ground implementation of single window system across all states is required, it added.
Adequate funding for meeting quality standards and providing certification facilities is necessary to strengthen enterprise competitiveness, it added. On the external front, India needs to leverage existing free trade agreements for exports and enter into FTAs with large market nations, the CII said.
To strengthen India's participation in GVCs, the CII paper suggests an openness to FDI for technology transfer and stresses on the liberalisation of the services sectors. The marketing promotion in top markets is essential, it says, adding that promoting 'brand India' and setting up a dedicated marketing agency for key markets and expanding the Market Access Initiative and Market Development Schemes was key to boost exports.