Why can’t India export more?

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Do you know how India’s exports compare to other countries?

  • Only 13.2% of China
  • 19.3% of the USA
  • 20.6% of Germany
  • 42.7% of Japan
  • 67% of the UK

OK, so these are the world’s five largest economies as of 2017, and India will definitely overtake the UK in 2018. But what about our exports, when compared with economies smaller than ours?

  • Almost the same as Switzerland, whose GDP is just 26% of ours!
  • 45.7% of The Netherlands, whose GDP is just 31.6% of ours!
  • 72.7% of Mexico, whose GDP is 44% of ours!
  • 51.9% of South Korea, whose GDP is 58.9% of ours!

So what is wrong? WHY CAN’T WE EXPORT MORE? To begin with, we need a person with business experience (especially exports business) to run our Commerce Ministry. It is not a politician’s job.

Look at the USA. The Commerce Secretary (equivalent to our Commerce Minister) is Wilbur Ross. Before he was appointed, Ross was a banker known for restructuring failed companies in industries such as: steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investment and textiles and who specialised in leveraged buyouts and distressed businesses.

In February 2017, Forbes magazine reported that Ross has a net worth of $2.5 billion (₹18,000 crores). However, financial disclosure forms that Ross filed after his nomination for Secretary of Commerce showed less than $700 million (₹5,040 crores) in assets, and Forbes removed him from their billionaires list in November 2017.

But even ₹5,040 crores is not a meagre amount. If you equalise it to India’s purchasing power parity, it is ₹1,384 crores. AND THIS IS NOT BLACK MONEY, SO PEOPLE LIKE CHANDRA BABU NAIDU DON’T QUALIFY FOR THE JOB.

Ross is often called the “King of Bankruptcy” because of his record of buying bankrupt companies, primarily in the manufacturing and steel industries, and later selling them for a large profit after operations improve.

Ross’ predecessor (under Barack Obama) was Hyatt Hotels heiress Penny Pritzker. She is the founder of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group. She is also co-founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners. As of October 2015, Forbes estimated her net worth at $2.4 billion (₹17,280 crores, or ₹4,746 crores in PPP terms). In 2009, Forbes named Pritzker as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan was in import and export business for 26 years before joining public service. His predecessor, Gao Hucheng, was in import/export business for 14 years (including five years in France) before joining the government.

Of course, having the right Commerce Minister is not the only thing, but that’s the subject of another blog sometime later!



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