Indian engineering exporters bank on Africa, Southeast Asia

February 27th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 27 (IANS) At a time when the world is reeling under the economic meltdown, exporters of engineering goods in the country are looking to Africa and Southeast Asia for salvation.
“Though they predominantly buy engineering goods from China, last year they faced some difficulties and now they want India to be developed as a second supplier,” R.P. Sehgal, regional chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC), told reporters here Friday.

EEPC is the apex body of engineering exporters in the country.

Sehgal said African countries and those from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were dissatisfied with China’s performance last year as it did not deliver goods on time and prices shot up radically.

According to him, these countries were now looking at reducing engineering imports from China and increase sourcing from India. “This is a major thing,” he said.

Sehgal, however, conceded China would remain the key player.

“For China, the main problem is economies of scale. Unless you give bulk order to China, they are not satisfied, whereas in India 80 percent of our engineering goods are from the SME (small and medium enterprises) sector. Small quantity of orders are not a problem here,” he said.

“This downturn is actually an opportunity for India, which we should encash.”

India accounts for just 1.4 percent of global engineering goods trade.

In 2007-08, its earned $33.3 billion from engineering exports, and $22 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal.

India’s engineering exports to ASEAN region rose from $12.6 billion in 2006-07 to $15.7 billion in 2007-08, and to Africa, this incresed from $3 billion to $3.9 billion.

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