FM exhorts exporters to 'foresee' impact of global slowdown, engage with govt
PTI | DC Correspondent
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks during an interactive session on the theme 'India's role in the Emerging World Order' organised by Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. (Photo: PTI)
NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday exhorted exporters to be receptive and 'foresee' how the recession or slowing economy abroad will pan out for them, while asking them to constantly engage with the government.
Stating that external uncertainties are far more 'unpredictable' and therefore challenging, Sitharaman said in a post-pandemic, post-war world, and where there is a repeat occurence of virus, there is no fixed 'template' to deal with uncertainties.
With regard to imports, she assured the industry that the government is looking at specific items to see which are going to be consistently needed for next few years as well as those whose import could hurt domestic manufacturers.
"The changes abroad, recession abroad or the slowing economy abroad are all going to be challenge for Indian exporters. So Indian exporters will have to be far more receptive of what is happening there or even foresee how that will pan out for them and keep constantly engaging with the government otherwise at a time when exporters have to be on their toes, such challenges demotivate them," Sitharaman said at the Assocham event here.
The minister's comments came after commerce ministry data showed that India's exports dipped by 6.58 per cent to USD 32.91 billion in January -- second straight month of decline -- due to slowdown in global demand.
Imports in January too contracted by 3.63 per cent, the second consecutive month, to USD 50.66 billion.
Sitharaman further said that customs authorities at the borders are keeping a tab on both exports and imports.
"No way are we blanket taking a position, we are looking at specific items to see which are going to be consistently needed for next few years and which are going to hurt us. Those which cause hurt we are ready to act," the minister said.
She also asked businesses to keep the government informed with the input on import of items which they think could hurt domestic industry as well as those which are essential input in manufacturing.
"We have gone item wise in customs duty and therefore we were able to bring it down in 18-20 categories... We will bring it down at the same time keep a very close watch on flooding or surge in any kind of imported goods. Even if the surge was only for 3 months, it can hurt us for full year. So there is a very keen eye being kept on what's happening in our borders in terms of exports and in terms of imports," Sitharaman said.