Falling exports is an area of concern despite a healthy current account situation, as it impacts economic performance, industrial growth and employment opportunities, President Pranab Mukherjee said in his keynote address at exporters’ body Fieo’s golden jubilee celebrations on Wednesday.

With global trade expected to remain sluggish in 2016-17 as well, the President said that all efforts need to be made to retain the country’s share in the world market, and then make it grow.

“Indian policy makers and industry need to be innovative to capture global markets, with customised products and aggressive marketing backed by quality control and high standards,” Mukherjee said at the event.

He pointed out that India’s exports of goods have been continuously declining since December 2014, although services exports fared slightly better.

While the export sector remained bleak, some comfort was brought about by falling global commodity prices, which led to a dwindling import bill and a healthy current account deficit of 1.4 per cent of the GDP in first three quarters of 2015-16, Mukherjee said.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who also spoke on the occasion, said the fall in export growth was tapering and better export performance was expected in the coming months.

The Minister said Indian exporters needed to work on improving the standards of their products, and integratewith the global value chain for better performance.

“There is a need for bringing in improved standards from within the industry. Today’s world is hinging more on standards, and the industry should itself contemplate on it,” she said.

There has to be recognition of the fact that world trade is now not just in finished products but in bits and pieces, with everybody being linked to the value chain, she added.

India’s exports have fallen for two consecutive years with a decline of 15.85 per cent in 2015-16 to $261.13 billion. In 2014-15, exports were to the tune of $310 billion, which were again lower than exports worth $314 billion the year before.

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