Prez asks exporters to be ready for global demand revival

 Inaugurating the Golden Jubilee Celebrations function of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee Thursday expressed his hope for a strong revival of the global economy in 2014.

"At a time when the global demand is yet to firm up, there is a need to strengthen our export industry," Mukherjee said in his address today in New Delhi.

Mukherjee called for increasing exports for mitigating a worrisome current account deficit situation which stood at 5.4 per cent of GDP during the period April to December, 2012.

While feeling proud of India's performance in commodity exports, the President said, "There is a need to monitor and exercise caution. We must ensure the availability of enough food in the country at all times. Every citizen should have access to affordable food."

Mukherjee outlined India's efforts to meet the challenges of global economic downturn and said that steps like proactive stance at forging trade and economic partnerships with several economies and trading blocs, over 158 Special Economic Zones, the Export Promotion Capital Goods Scheme and market diversification have given good results.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma said that even in the backdrop of a difficult global economic climate, India's exports crossed USD 300 billion mark.

"Recognising the inherent risk of focusing on markets which are under stress, our Foreign Trade Policy has taken a conscious view for market diversification," said Sharma.

Sharma also added that we must remain mindful of the fact that China has emerged as our largest trading partner which is a natural phenomena given our geographical proximity with it.

"However, we have a huge trade deficit with China and what is a cause of serious worry for us is the composition of trade with China as India remains an exporter of raw-material and importer of finished manufactured goods. This is untenable and we have taken this up at the highest level," the Minister added.

Speaking on the ongoing India- European Union Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) negotiations, Sharma said that the negotiators are working within predefined mandate and their main goal is to get best possible access for the country.

"We have to have the confidence that by engaging with the world we are only improving our competitiveness,â€Â asserted the Minister.

The Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry Dr. D Purandeswari and Commerce Secretary S R Rao also spoke on the occasion. Director IIFT Dr. Surajit Mitra welcomed the guests.