New delhi, Apr 13: Braving slowdown in the U.S. and Europe, India’s exports crossed $300 billion in 2011-12, but rising import bill pushed by high crude oil prices and the country’s obsession with bullion sent the trade deficit soaring to $185 billion.
“I am happy to announce that India’s exports have crossed USD 300 billion in the last financial year,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here.
However, he also shared his concern over ballooning trade gap as imports shot up by 38 per cent to USD 485 billion for the last fiscal.
Mr. Sharma noted that target of $300 billion was achieved despite lower export demand from traditional markets and Eurozone crisis as outbound shipments grew in new markets of Latin America and Africa.
“We are on course, despite very difficult global scenario and the contraction of demand in some of the traditional destinations and the Eurozone crisis,” the minister said while releasing the provisional data.
He said imports increased mainly due to high crude oil prices and huge demand for gold and silver. Consequently, the trade deficit is estimated to have widened to $185 billion from $104.4 billion in 2010-11.
“Our current account deficit and trade deficit are a challenge. Both are under stress. Trade deficit is primarily because of high crude oil prices,” he said, adding that the country would devise a strategy in its upcoming foreign trade policy to regulate and address the growing trade gap.
The maximum imports were of crude oil — $150 billion, while gold and silver contributed to $60 billion. India is world’s largest gold importer.
Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said the sectors that led to higher exports include gems and jewellery, textiles, engineering, petroleum, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.