The Telegraph
Friday , July 18 , 2014
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Bengal aims big in exports

Amit Mitra in Calcutta on Thursday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, July 17: Bengal aims to double its share in the country’s exports.

The economic survey has estimated the state’s shipments at $10.5 billion, or about 3.4 per cent of the total exports, in 2013-14. State finance and industries minister Amit Mitra today said the target was to touch $20 billion.

Emphasis will be on engineering, leather, jute and jute-based products, rice, gems and jewellery, leather, textiles and marine products.

According to the Federation of Indian Export Organisation (Fieo), this target could be achieved by 2018-19.

“Exports at Rs 63,735 crore from Bengal is a big number indeed. We want more. Half of that amount is from the engineering industry at Rs 32,896 crore. Marine exports were Rs 2,388 crore. We will have to move forward. Bengal is located in a strategic position. We can take advantage of the free-trade agreement with Asean,” Mitra said.

Bengal is strategically located to take advantage of the comprehensive economic partnership agreements with Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. The minister sought a clear strategy from Fieo to achieve the target.

According to M. Rafeeque Ahmed, president of Fieo, the organisation has started studies across states to analyse bottlenecks and create strategies.

While the studies have been completed in Gujarat and Karnataka, they are underway in Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh.

A similar study is expected for Bengal to help clear the hurdles through a joint effort between the industry and the state government.