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Business

India to double exports, adapt tariffs

The Indian government has announced it wants to double the Asian nation's exports over the next five years. It will also work towards adjusting existing tariff structures to make it easier for India to join trade pacts.

The government in New Delhi said Wednesday it aimed to help double the country's exports to $900 billion (835 billion euros) in the next five years, as part of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plans to boost the economy and

provide more jobs for a growing population

.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government wanted to increase India's share of global trade volume from the current 2 percent to 3.5 percent.

"This new policy lays out a stable and sustainable roadmap for India's global trade engagement in the coming years," Sitharaman commented.

But critics warned the government would first have to tackle corruption, unreliable power supplies, and the country's run-down infrastructure.

"There are also issues with India's export non-competitiveness, which depend on domestic factors which the government can control and address," said D.K. Joshi from the Indian ratings agency CRISIL.

Realignment needed

Also on Wednesday, New Delhi announced it was willing to adjust its tariff regime so as to make it easier for the nation to join new regional trade pacts. India has not been invited to become part of pacts such as the US-led 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership partly because its tariffs are too high.

Trade Secretary Rajeev Kher said India needed lower tariffs for intermediate goods to help it further integrate with global supply chains.

Regional trade pacts are now being promoted by advanced economies after years of failure to negotiate a global accord under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

hg/nz (Reuters, AFP)

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