Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that there is a need to explore project exports in developed nations such as the United States as it would result in lower risk and a better rating of projects in such countries. At an event organised by the Export Import Bank of India (EXIM), he also said the Ukraine-Russia conflict can’t be ignored and it is at a very critical juncture.
“We should not necessarily focus only on projects where there is government funding or lines of credit from the government or which are third world, backward or less developed countries,” Goyal said.
“My sense is if someone gets a project in Europe, US, the risks are much lower and you can price your finances better. This will lower your capital requirements with a high credit rating of projects in developed countries,” he said, adding that Indian contractors should diversify and internationalise their operations to get better returns.
He said for far too long, the stakeholders have only looked at Africa or South East Asia.
“We need to look at the developed world with a new enthusiasm or effort. Some of our good companies need to go overseas and setup operations also so that we can capture a piece of the pie there,” the minister said.
He said that Exim Bank can study what the developed world wants, what are the restrictions in their government contracts and if they need local presence or local companies to be able to bid for such projects.
“If Indian infrastructure companies move out of their total dependence on Indian business, many of which are stuck at different stages such as finance, contractual problems, litigation, and diversify their portfolio to look at some contracts in other parts of the world,” Goyal said.
As far as merchandise exports are concerned, the minister said that despite headwinds for international trade from Omicron, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical conflicts, India exported goods worth $38 billion in April, which shows that the country is on a growth, revival path.
“There are serious concerns around overall supply chain disruptions because any one place goes into a lockdown, we don’t know the ramifications it will lead to. Of course, the Ukraine-Russia conflict can’t be ignored and it is at a very critical juncture with a lot of confusion and complications in our international trade at the moment,” he said.
He also noted container shortages, shipping rates that are 10x of what they used to be and global inflation that has caused raw material to become much more expensive not only in India but worldwide.
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