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Piyush Goyal asks industry to expand export basket

Date: 18-02-2020
Subject: Piyush Goyal asks industry to expand export basket
NEW DELHI: Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday asked the industry to look for ways to expand the country's export basket by adding more value-added products and cut shipments of raw materials.

He said the country's export basket is changing but it is not changing at fast pace.

"We are moving from some raw materials to intermediates. Can we collectively look at changing basket of exports to do more value-added products? Can we reduce exports of, let's say, iron ore and export high-quality steel? Can we stop exporting alumina, and stop importing aluminium products?," he said here.

"Can we see how we can become value-added producers so that the indian basket of manufacturing changes," the minister questioned.

He said India's share in the world's trade is in single digit for many products.

"Our government has identified a few champion sectors, like textiles, fisheries and IT, to expand and become a world leader in exports. Our government is swadeshi and personally, I am swadeshi. Therefore, we want to encourage our domestic investors on priority. We will fight for their cause," Goyal said.

He also said any country, which does not allow equal and reciprocal access to our products and services in their country, by law "we will stop them from participating in government contracts in India".

Talking about scale of production, he said the Indian industry needs to boost its scale to take advantage of the China-US trade war.

"Now, with the China-US trade war, we were trying to see how we can get more Indian companies to benefit from it. The sad part is that we are not producing to scale in our country," he said.

Citing an example of retail giant Walmart, the minister said the company wanted 40,000 pieces of some footwear product.

On this, a big Indian company stated that they can give 20,000 pieces over the next year.

Walmart wanted 40,000 pieces every month without which they cannot place an order as they have 3,000-odd stores all over the world, the minister said.

"So, unless we start looking at scale, we are going to get out of the market very soon," he said.

He asked DPIIT and the department of commerce to identify sectors where India has competitive advantage and where the Indian industry can see business opportunities.

He also asked the industry to highlight their problems in terms of harassment by inspectors of any sort.

Further, Goyal added that although he does not differentiate between domestic and foreign investors, "given a choice, I would urge the domestic industry to invest more than FDI (foreign direct investment)" as " we want to encourage domestic investors".

The minister also asked the DPIIT to discuss with the cabinet secretariat about signing a legally binding agreement with states for abiding contractual obligations.

He said there are cases where states back out from their commitment, when there is a change in leadership.

He asked the industry to identify sectors where the government can promote assembling of products at a lower rate of duty and finished items at a higher rate of duty.

"In a phased manner, we will restrict products' import and ensure that domestic industry can achieve scale," he added.

Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

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