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Exporters warn 15m will lose jobs

World Trade may fall as much as 32%
Orders moving to China, where businesses are now operational
Orders moving to China, where businesses are now operational

Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 10.04.20, 08:18 PM

The devastation wrought by the coronavirus-induced lockdown would render 15 million jobless in the export sector, with half of global orders cancelled.

“With the cancellation of over 50 per cent of orders and a gloomy forecast for the future, we expect 15 million job losses in exports and rising NPA for exporting units,” said Sharad Kumar Saraf, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (Fieo).

The gloomy forecast that global trade will plummet by up to a third in 2020 has compounded their fears.

The organisation’s estimate comes just days after the International Labour Organisation said about 40 crore workers in India in the informal economy were at a risk of falling deeper into poverty during the pandemic.

According to the WTO, the decline in world trade is likely to be worse than the slump following the global financial crisis of 2008-09. Merchandise trade is expected to decline 13-32 per cent in 2020.

Saraf said a fine balance was required between saving lives and saving livelihood as opting for only one can be disastrous for the country.

He said exporters were left with “very” few orders and if factories were not allowed to work with a minimum workforce, many of them will suffer “irreparable losses” which will bring them to the brink of closure.

He said sectors such as apparels, gems and jewellery, leather, handicrafts, engineering and textiles were severely hit by the lockdown.

“We are losing markets to China. All orders are going to China as they have resumed work. It will be very late if we do not start our factories now. Small economies such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka too have announced relief packages,” he said. 

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