Notwithstanding global challenges like protectionist measures by some countries, India is projected to achieve all- time record exports of $330 billion in fiscal 2018-19 with a major contribution coming from the engineering sector, Commerce Secretary Mr Anup Wadhawan said while inaugurating the VIIIth International Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS) in Chennai today.
“This year has been particularly good for us. We are likely to touch an all-time record and go past our earlier peak which was in 2013-14 at $314 billion and we hope to reach about $325-330 billion this year,” Wadhawan added, addressing global CEOs and trading partners at the IESS-VIII, the annual flagship event of the EEPC India.
The Commerce Secretary said the engineering exports have grown significantly in recent years, notwithstanding major global challenges. From global financial crisis of 2008-2009 onwards, India’s exporters have faced several challenges including several recent unilateral protectionist efforts by various countries. However, conducive government policies have propelled the engineering sector exports.
EEPC India Chairman Ravi Sehgal said that engineering exports in the financial year 2018-19 are expected to be between $80-82 billion. “We could have done $85 billion if we had basic raw material of steel at affordable prices.”
In his address, the Commerce Secretary assured the engineering exporters of looking into how best the government can help for easy and affordable availability of steel. A similar assurance also came from the Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu in his video conference message.
Wadhawan added that given the protectionism in major countries and engineering being one of the segments affected by such restrictive measures, exporting firms should look at innovative methods to enhance competitiveness and take advantage of various market access opportunities.
IESS -VIII, organised by the EEPC India with support from the Union Commerce Ministry and the Department of Heavy Industry, has on display engineering products and solutions with around 400 exhibitors, 500 overseas buyers and 10,000 trade visitors participating in the March 14-16 show.
Tamil Nadu is hosting the event for the third time in a row, while Malaysia is the Partner Country of the IESS. India-Malaysia bilateral trade aggregated to USD 14.71 billion in 2017-18, with total exports from India to Malaysia amounting to USD 5.7 billion while its imports from Malaysia stood at around USD 9 billion.
Wadhawan also advised exporters to better utilise the existing Free Trade Agreements to boost exports in ASEAN and other countries with similar arrangement. “The data shows that Indian exporters have not been very good users of FTA preferential benefits that India has negotiated with partner countries. We have carried out a large number of trade facilitation measures in the last four and half years and are in the process of streamlining our processes further. I urge our member exporters to use the tariff preferences provided in the FTAs to enhance their market presence globally.”
Datuk K Talagavath, Dy Director General in the Malaysian Ministry of Investment and Trade, said Malaysia would engage more actively with India in highly automated sectors like robotics,automobile, artificial intelligence. An MoU has been signed between Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IOT Institute and the EEPC India for exploring mutual possibilities in the two countries in the related sectors.
The broad theme this time is Smart Engineering with four pillars: “Subcontracting”; “Industrial & Electrical Machinery”, “Future Factory” and “Innovation and Technology”. The engineering talent spans nearly 1800 tariff lines at 8 digit and is a microcosm of India’s and global capability in hard core metal and metal based engineering. The over 300 Indian exhibitors participating here are a healthy sample of India’s engineering sector which accounts for around 12% of India’s GDP, 30% of India’s total factories in the organized sector and 29% of total employment in the organised sector.
Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand are participating with their companies to showcase their capabilities, talk about their investment opportunities to global players. The MSME sector, which is the bedrock of the engineering value change and sourcing, is expected to benefit from this show as well as be a point of good networking exchange between internal and global communities.