Priority issues for India in External Trade
V. S. Seshadri

Four broad concerns capture the current context surrounding India’s external trade. First is our sluggish export performance for the last several years owing to global slowdown and also due to our declining competitiveness. With a share of 1.65 per cent in world goods exports today, India ranks 19th among all countries that is way below its size or GDP. India’s merchandise imports has also gone past US$ 500 billion now. The trade deficit at US$ 176 billion in 2018-19 as a result is over 50 per cent of exports. The need for a strong push for manufacturing exports is compelling. A higher trade profile will also enable India to move away from its rather defensive and reactive approach to trade policy and to have greater influence in international trade negotiations.

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