New Delhi: The worsening European crisis and global economic meltdown have played a spoilsport in the government’s aspirations of doubling the exports in a period of three years. The declining rate of export has made the nation’s target of raising its exports to USD 500 billion by 2014, a tough challenge.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma during a meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee said, “The global economic uncertainties have threatened the ambitious project of the government.”

He added, doubling the country’s exports require the shipments to grow by 26.7 percent annually for the next three years. Only then, the nation’s exports can reach upto USD 500 billion by 2014.

The Commerce Ministry had prepared a strategy paper in May this year to double the exports.

Sharma informed the parliamentarians, “Clearly, this is a challenging task given the complexities and uncertainties of recent economic developments.”

Sharma said, the global economic environment has witnessed a considerable turbulence in the past few years. He said, exports need to be pushed up both for boosting economic activity and maintaining the current account and trade deficit within manageable limits.

However, it was crucial for the government to raise the exports as the current account deficit had touched 3.1 percent of the gross domestic product in June. Moreover, if the rate of import continues to be comparatively higher than export rate, the situation can turn to worse.

Though exports have grown by 52 per cent to USD 160 billion in the April-September, 2011, the trade deficit stood at 73.4 billion for the half-year.

This is because imports too have been expanding rapidly with the import bill touching USD 233.5 billion in the first half of the fiscal, due to which the government made a strategy to double the exports.