Goyal exudes optimism, says exports may emerge from April’s steep fall in 2 months

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 28, 2020

Piyush Goyal, Commerce Minister

Stress has to be on reviving manufacturing, diversifying export basket and focussing on new markets

Exports are likely to emerge from the steep fall experienced last month and the decline is set to reduce rapidly over the next two months, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

“In exports of goods, while April was quite a washout with 60 per cent fall compared to (the same month) last year, my sense is that in May it will grow significantly and the reduction will be around 30-35 per cent. We have to wait for the numbers,” Goyal said while addressing an export summit organised by industry body CII through video conferencing.

In June, there is likely to be a further improvement and exports will either be at par with June 2019 or at most 10 per cent down, the Minister added with optimism.

Goyal said that the improvement in exports was due to the fantastic work done by exporters and export promotion councils over the past few days and their willingness and success in working in collaboration with the government. “I am sure there are better things waiting for us,” the Minister said.

Going forward, the three factors that would drive the economy would be revival of manufacturing, diversification of export basket and focussing on newer and “more accepting” markets, Goyal pointed out.

There are areas such as pharmaceuticals where India has existing strength and there are newer areas like furniture where the country was hopeful of being an important player. Both should be in focus.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has sounded out all its Missions in other countries to analyse opportunities for Indian exports arising due to the Covid-19 pandemic and work on export strategies, mainly for agriculture products and pharmaceuticals, pointed out P Harish, Additional Secretary, MEA.

The MEA is also working closely with State governments to help them understand the export opportunities and get them in touch with potential buyers, Harish said.

India’s exports in April 2020 fell 60.28 per cent to $10.36 billion (year-on-year), the steepest fall in over two-and-a-half decades, with almost all major sectors such as gems & jewellery, garments and textiles, carpets, leather, engineering goods and petroleum products, posting sharp falls.

This was mainly due to most manufacturing activities in the country coming to a halt due to the lockdown and shipments and payments getting stuck.

Published on May 28, 2020

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