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Exports decline has stopped, says Sharma

July 08, 2009 16:52 IST

The downward slide in Indian exports following recession in major markets of the United States and Europe, has been arrested, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, he said the data available for the first three months of the current fiscal showed decline in exports bottoming out.

Exports had fallen 33.3 per cent in March to $11.51 billion. In April, they declined 33.2 per cent to $10.74 billion and in the following month outward shipments dropped 29.2 per cent to $11.01 billion.

Sharma said the data available for June indicate exports declined by 29 per cent.

"Global economic crisis has had adverse impact on our exports which have been declining since October 2008," he said.

Fall in demand in traditional destinations of the US, the United Kingdom, Euro-zone, Japan and Singapore were primarily reasons for the dip in exports. "The increase (or revival) in exports will depend on revival in major economies," he said.

Slowdown in exports had led to job losses in labour intensive sectors. Different reports and agencies have reported different numbers of layoffs. "0.5 million job loss was reported between December and March in one report. Later another report claimed 2.5 million new jobs have since been created."

World over, 22 million jobs were lost because of the economic downturn. Of these 55 per cent were in the US and 31 per cent in China, Sharma said.

He, however, did not give Government's estimate of job losses in India saying an assessment would be done by Ministry of Labour.

Asked about cheaper imported palm oil impacting domestic coconut oil, he said, "The government is vigilant to dumping and cheaper imports."

India has always stood against protectionist trade barrier in some countries and, therefore, "as a matter of policy, the government cannot have protectionist barriers (in India)," he added.

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