NEW DELHI: EEPC India, an initiative of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary has been pushing for higher exports of Indian machinery and engineering solutions in markets as far-flung as Vietnam to Iran. B Sarkar, Executive Director spoke about the EEPC's policy and export outlook for 2017.
With regards to the new Trump regime, he said, “We are seeing no immediate, short term impact, but there are long-term grave implications with a protectionist regime. Castings, valves, forgings, are heavily imported by US companies from Indian makers. Now, Trump can talk of 'Make American, Buy American,' but ultimately it will result in higher labour costs, tighter environment laws and heavier clearance for manufacturing industrial equipment. Industries there will also have to contend with a stronger union and cannot really make their products with a competitive edge.”
On the recent slump in the export market and the outlook of 2017, he said, while it is true that the engineering export slumped to $56 billion in 2016 from $70 billion in 2015, we expect the market to rebound. In the March quarter alone we are expecting a growth of 15%. With regards to Indian Foreign policies affecting Indian exports, he said, more than our foreign policies, it is US foreign policy that is impacting trade. Iran is a natural ally and ports like Chabahar will prove immensely beneficial. Yet because of US sanctions, we are facing great difficulty in overseas remittances and cross-border trade. Because of cheap oil and a lot of old cars on their roads, Iran has a huge auto maintenance market. We can really deliver there and in agricultural equipment, food-processing machines — provided the foreign policy climate improves. However we have really improved our relationship with SAARC nations. Apart from that we are being welcomed in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, which have an inherent anti-China bias. They also appreciate that India provides quality over quantity in our textile machinery and other exports — unlike China. Kenya is another Country, where we have made great strides in selling our food processing units.