India’s exports will touch $350 billion this fiscal if the positive trend in global trade continues and domestic manufacturing stays upbeat, exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has said.

Export parks “The Government should set up export growth clusters and parks focussing on specific sectors and countries to accelerate exports,” FIEO chief Rafeeque Ahmed said at a press conference on Thursday.

Long-term export targets also need to be set to keep track of export performance over the years, FIEO stated, setting an annual export target of $750 billion for 2018-19.

India’s exports in 2013-14 were valued at $312 billion, just 3.97 per cent higher than the previous year, and way short of the $325 billion target.

Commenting on the Government’s proposal to rationalise export promotion schemes, Ahmed said that all on-going schemes should continue. “All export sectors need to be supported and we are not in favour of pruning,” he said.

FIEO urged the Government to consider getting into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and conclude FTA talks with the EU.

“We should boldly consider an FTA with China as Indian exporters can gain enormously if tariffs are brought down in the Chinese market,” Ahmed said.

EU benefits He added that the conclusion of FTA talks with EU can bring benefits to Indian exporters, especially since they no longer qualified for lower duties under the Generalised System of Preferences scheme.

“We will discuss our proposal for a FTA with China with the Commerce Minister,” Ahmed added.

There is also scope of increasing exports to Russia, which has minimised its trading with the US and the EU because of the on-going political tensions.

Russia focus “Russia is planning to source agriculture and dairy products from far off destinations such as Australia and South America. We are much closer and can supply whatever is needed,” Ahmed said.

With manufacturing activity slowly picking up and upward trend in world trade continuing, exports are likely to accelerate in the coming months, he said. Global trade is expected to grow at 4.17 per cent in 2014 and 5.3 per cent in 2015 compared with 2.3 per cent in 2013.

“The next six months are crucial as it would determine whether we could actually touch the $350 billion target,” he added.

In the first four months of the fiscal, exports have posted a growth of 8.62 per cent, at $107.8 billion.