Economy

India's $500-b export target set to face protectionist hurdle

Arvind Jayaram amp BL Research Bureau | Updated on March 12, 2018

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India may have to combat both the ongoing slowdown and protectionist measures by other G-20 nations in its chase to achieve an export target of $500 billion by 2014.

G-20 nations have been taking more protectionist measures of late and this has impacted world merchandise trade by about 3 per cent, the World Trade Organisation has estimated in a recent report.

Within the G-20 itself, such measures have reduced trade by 3.8 per cent, the joint study with the United Nations' Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), points out.

Slowing trade

The report also projects that global trade growth will slow to 3.7 per cent in 2012 from 5 per cent in 2011 and 13.8 per cent in 2010. This is below the long-term annual average of 5.4 per cent for the last 20 years. It says exports of developed economies are projected to grow by 2 per cent this year, while developing countries' exports will go up by 5.6 per cent.

This is significantly lower than the 20 per cent rise in outward shipments that India targets this fiscal.

According to the report, 124 new trade restrictive measures have been put in place between mid-October 2011 and mid-May 2012. These affected around 1.1 per cent of G-20 merchandise imports.

The main measures were in the form of trade remedy actions, tariff increases, import licences and customs controls. Between mid-May and mid-October 2011, new imports restrictions only impacted 0.6 per cent of G-20 imports.

Sectors affected

In terms of the number of trade measures, the sectors most affected by the new restrictions were iron and steel, electrical machinery and equipment, vehicles, vegetables, beverages and spirits and chemical products. However, in terms of trade coverage, the sectors most affected were optical and other precision instruments, motor vehicles, machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical machinery, iron and steel and meat.

According to the report, the accumulation of the trade restrictions has been aggravated by the relatively slow pace of removal of existing measures. Out of a total of 802 measures implemented since October 2008 that can be considered as restricting or potentially restricting trade, only 18 per cent have been eliminated.

>arvind.jayaram @thehindu.co.in

Published on June 11, 2012

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