Merchandise exports will exceed $30 billion for an 11th straight month in February, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday, adding that outbound shipments can potentially cross even the ambitious target of $400 billion set for the current fiscal.
Addressing industry executives virtually at a CII event, Goyal said goods exports already hit $25.3 billion in the first three weeks of February, up 26.4% from a year before and 26.7% from the pre-pandemic (same period in FY20) level. The exports stood at $336 billion until January this fiscal.
Merchandise exports had shrunk 7% in FY21 from a year earlier to $292 billion in the wake of the pandemic. However, global demand for goods improved dramatically this fiscal following an industrial resurgence in advanced economies.
Similarly, services exports will likely scale a fresh peak of $250 billion this fiscal, the minister said, adding that robust growth in this sector prompted his ministry to revise the targets for FY22 twice from the initial goal of $225 billion. Services exports were to the tune of $206 billion in FY21.
The minister said the national single-window system, which aims to become a “one-stop shop” for investors to apply for various approvals and make it easier for them to set up units, has already onboarded 20 central government departments and 14 states/Union territories. The ‘know-your-approval’ portal of the single-window system has listed a total of 3,439 approvals, 2,895 of which are typically granted by states. “We are committed to a seamless and simple approval process,” he said.
As India prepares to get into a raft of free trade agreements (FTAs) this year and next, Goyal said while the government will try its best to ensure that the pacts don’t harm interests of domestic industry, some amount of give and take in trade negotiations is always inevitable. At the same time, he asked industry to take advantage of the ample opportunities that are set to come its way due to the FTAs. India last week signed the comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the UAE, its first such FTA with any economy in over a decade.
Goyal asked industry to identify the regulatory processes that can be eased further. The government has simplified the need for more than 24,500 compliances and decriminalised as many as 750 offences to reduce India Inc’s compliance burden and promote ease of doing business, he said.
As many as 10 start-ups turned into unicorns in just 53 days of 2022, Goyal said, highlighting the improving business climate in the country. A record 42 start-ups grew into unicorns in 2021 alone.