Underwhelming performance

Without economic integration, trade strategy will not work

Business Standard Editorial Comment Mumbai
exports, imports, cargo

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The government’s focus appears to be on identifying high-value exports to high-income countries, and on reducing the trade deficit. Superficially, it might appear that this strategy has achieved moderate success, given that the data for April 2023, released on Monday, showed the merchandise and services trade deficit came at a 21-month low. The headline figure for exports over the 2022-23 financial year has also shown growth, albeit less than 7 per cent. But these figures do not tell the story, which is revealed by a closer look at the disaggregated data as well as through a more long-term perspective. Such a look reveals that India is far from having a successful strategy for economic growth and integration. The low merchandise trade deficit emerges, if anything, from shifts in discretionary patterns of demand for oil and for gems; these cannot be the basis for stability on the external account.
While services exports have been growing, that has not been t

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First Published: May 15 2023 | 9:48 PM IST

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