Indian exporters upbeat about prospects

New Delhi, September 18:

In view of growing global demand, Indian exporters are optimistic that the growth momentum witnessed in the first five months till August will continue for the remainder of the 2005-06 fiscal, an industry study stated yesterday. Exports during April-August were valued at $35.7 billion, a jump of 23 per cent from $29 billion worth exports during the corresponding period last year, according to official data. “Procedural simplification over the last few years and growing global demand,” are attributed for the upbeat outlook, a survey by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has revealed. “With Indian exports increasing by 23 per cent in the first five months of the current fiscal and August itself clocking growth of over 25 per cent, Indian exporters are buoyant about their business prospects in the current financial year, despite the hardening of rupee against the US dollar in the last three years,” stated the report. The survey of small, medium and large companies “found out that though rupee appreciation has impacted their businesses and infrastructure has remained a major impediment, exporters are optimistic about growth momentum continuing due to procedural simplification over the last few years and growing global demand”.

About 70 per cent of the respondents expected good growth while 24 per cent felt coming year’s prospects were excellent. Only six per cent felt that they were not as good as last year.

On the scale of growth expected, 58 per cent of respondents revealed expectations of 20 to 30 per cent while about 27 per cent expected over 30 per cent jump. Around 15 per cent had expectations of recording only about 10 per cent or lower growth. Around 65 per cent of the respondents felt that the skyrocketing global oil prices had moderately affected exports from India. Yet, 74 per cent respondents felt India should be able to sustain about 24 per cent export growth in the current year, corresponding with the export growth last year. Majority of the exporters felt the Middle East remained a very good destination for Indian project exports. Though majority of exporters found no room to complain about the flexibility of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), some respondents suggested that transfer of goods to branch companies should be permitted and some simplification of the procedure with banks were needed.

The survey also highlighted the urgent need for improving facilities at the ports and airports for faster domestic movement of goods, rigorous efforts to reduce turnaround time for vessels and acceptance of transit bonds at airports for export oriented units. Urging speeding clearance of differences between the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and Revenue/Customs departments on implementation of various export promotion schemes at ground level, the survey stated this was required to clear some of the obstacles faced. The difference between the two authorities on the promotion schemes “has led to exporters facing obstacles in furthering their business interests. This could also undermine their global competitiveness if the problem persists in the foreseeable future.”