Indian exports will fall short of the USD 325 billion target envisaged in the current fiscal though it would be more than what was achieved in the last financial year, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said.
"We (will) fall short but we will do better. Definitely much better than last year and we will be bring down the trade account deficit substantially," Sharma told PTI.
For the April-February period, the country's merchandise exports were up 4.79 per cent to USD 282.7 billion.
Imports during the 11-month period fell 8.65 per cent to USD 410.86 billion. The trade deficit during this period was USD 128 billion.
In 2012-13, exports declined by 1.8 per cent to USD 300.4 due to the global demand slowdown.
Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) President Rafeeq Ahmed has said that the exports during the current financial year will touch about USD 312-315 billion.
Exporters said that besides global slowdown, domestic factors like declining manufacturing growth and too has impacted the exports growth.
The apex exporters body have suggested the government to fix exports target at least for next five years and announce some major policy decisions in the forthcoming Foreign Trade Policy for 2014-19 to boost shipments.
FIEO is working on a paper for the new policy which would include recommendations to increase exports.
The manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 75 per cent of the index, declined by 1.6 per cent in December, as against a contraction of 0.8 per cent in the year-ago period.
On the currency swap agreement, Sharma said that an inter- ministerial committee is examining the matter.
India is exploring possibilities of entering into currency swap agreements with trade partners to shore up exports and bring down trade deficit, which is putting pressure on the rupee.
India has signed currency swap agreements with Japan (USD 15 billion) and Bhutan (USD 100 million). China has shown active interest in entering into such an agreement with India but it is yet to be signed.
Currency swaps have emerged as an important derivative tool after the global financial crisis of 2008 to hedge the exchange rate risks.