Reacting to the February 2021 export figures, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Mr Sharad Kumar Saraf said that the monthly exports declined marginally by 0.25 per cent to a value of $27.67 billion mainly on account of container shortages across the country and limited supply disruptions in the last week of the month due to increasing Covid cases in certain states. All the major sectors of export, which during the previous month were in positive territory, continued their trajectory during February also.
Mr Saraf said that exporters continue to see signs of further revival not only in the order booking positions but also in demand from across the globe, paving the way for much better days and months for the sector. However, rising exports from China hasled to shortage of containers in the region as most of the empty containers are available only for exports from China as the shipping lines and container companies are being paid hefty premiums for bringing empty boxes back to China, he pointed out.
The FIEO President added that export of othercereals along with oilmeals, iron ore, jute mfg. including floor coverings, rice, cereal preparations and miscellaneous processed items, meat, dairy and poultry products, carpet, spices, drugs and pharmaceuticals, handicrafts excl. hand-made carpets, ceramic products and glassware, cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products etc.,tobacco, plastic and linoleum, mica, coal and other ores, minerals including process and organic and inorganic chemicals showed either a very high or impressive growth or were in positive territory,showing signs of further improvement.
He also said that negative growth in export of major products including petroleum products, oilseeds, leather and leather manufactures, cashew, gems and jewellery, RMG of all textiles, electronic goods, fruits and vegetables, man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups etc., engineering goods, tea, coffee and marine products, which have a major contribution in the countrys exports basket, and also related to labour-intensive sectors of exports, has been a key concern. Further, an increase in imports in February 2021 by about 7 per cent to $40.55 billion, compared to the same period during the previous fiscal, has led toa trade deficit of $12.88 billion, which is an increase of 25.84 per cent during the month.
Mr Saraf urged the government to soon notify the RoDTEP rates to remove uncertainty among the trade and industry, thereby facilitating forging of new contracts with foreigner buyers. He also reiterated that the government must address some of the key issues including timely announcement of the new FTP, adequate availability of containers, release of the required funds for RoDTEP, MEIS and clarity on SEIS benefits, softening of freight charges, resolving risky exporters issues, and continuance of seamless refund of IGST. Besides, the long-pending demand for the creation of an Export Development Fund for marketing of Brand India products, and the various other infrastructure bottlenecks also need to be looked into to bring back exports on the double-digit growth trajectory, he added, as per a release.