Contracting for the eighth month in a row, India's exports slipped 10.3 percent in July to USD 23.13 billion, hit by global slowdown and a dip in crude oil prices, which in turn impacted the value of petroleum products.
     
Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the ministry is focusing on exports sectors with a huge potential such as pharmaceuticals, ready-made garments, leather, gems and jewellery, chemicals and agro-chemicals.
     
Trade facilitation, she felt, can play a vital role in boosting competitiveness of domestic exports.
    
"In trade facilitation, we are dividing our approach into two pieces -- short term steps which we can do quickly to make things easier for exports and long term, in which a calibrated strategy (is required)," Teaotia said.
    
"Another (important area) is infrastructural bottleneck. Where are the low-hanging fruits for us? If it's just simply traffic management at a port, that should not be so difficult to resolve. You can look at IT tools to speed up processing of the cases."
    
The ministry is also looking at cost of credit for exporters, the Secretary said.
    
"On interest subvention (or subsidy), we hope to bring it to the government's (Cabinet's) consideration quickly. Once that is done, I believe there will be some clarity for exporters. That should happen early," she added.
    
The Secretary said despite global slowdown and currency depreciation, two sectors -- pharmaceutical and ready-made garments (RMG) in textiles -- have continued to grow, which is "good news".
     
In July, pharmaceutical exports grew about 11 percent to USD 1.46 billion and RMG recorded a growth of 6.56 percent at USD 1.54 billion.
    
She identified leather, gems and jewellery, chemicals and agro-chemicals as the areas where "there is a need for the government to work with the industry to address its concerns".
     
On the continuous decline in exports, Teaotia said since petroleum is a big chunk in exports and imports basket, whatever happens in this sector, it impacts India's trade.
    
Petroleum products make up 18 percent of the country's total exports.
    
The main exporting sectors that logged negative growth last month included petroleum products (nearly 43.22 percent), leather and leather goods, marine products and chemicals.
    
Oil imports, which account for about 31 percent of total pie, too dropped 34.91 percent in July to USD 9.48 billion.

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