Exports from the special economic zones (SEZs) of the country registered a growth of 38 per cent in May 2018. The monthly exports data released by Export Promotion Council for SEZ and Export Oriented Units (EPCES) shows merchandise exports from SEZs touched a value of Rs 29,236 crore in the month of May this year as against Rs 21,220 crore in the same month last year.
According to the EPCES report, the major sectors contributing to the outstanding growth numbers in the month were biotech, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, computer, electronics, non-conventional energy, plastic, rubber, and trading and services.
Among the high-growth sectors of SEZs, chemicals and pharmaceuticals exports stood at Rs 16,848 crore in May 2018, an increase of 55 per cent from last year. Electronics exports from the SEZs surged by 218 per cent to Rs 6 crore and biotech sector exports rose by 36 per cent to Rs 370 crore between May 2017 and May 2018. Non-conventional energy also witnessed a record growth of 521 per cent, with exports touching Rs 42 crore in May 2018 as against Rs 7 crore worth of exports in May 2017.
Cochin SEZ in Kerala maintained its stellar performance with exports increasing by a whopping 720 per cent to touch Rs 5,516 crore as against Rs 673 crore in 2017. Exports from Falta SEZ also grew by a healthy 116 per cent to touch Rs 1,228 crore in May 2018 as against exports of Rs 568 crore in May 2017. Other SEZs to see positive year-on-year growth for the period were Indore and MEPZ, with exports increasing by 32 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.
The combined export for merchandise and software from SEZs during April-May 2018 increased by 11 per cent to touch Rs 1,01,238 crore as against Rs 91,584 crore during the same period last year. Cochin, Falta and Noida were the top-growing SEZs for combined exports of merchandise and software during the one-month period of April-May 2018. Combined exports stood at Rs 23,234 crore from Cochin, Rs 4,089 crore from Falta and Rs 8,599 crore from Noida, an increase of 75 per cent, 48 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively.
Dr Vinay Sharma, Officiating Chairman of EPCES, said, “I am happy to announce that exports from the SEZs stood at Rs 29,236 crore in May 2018 as compared to exports of Rs 21,220 crore in May 2017, a 38 per cent year-on-year growth. The healthy pace of growth in exports from SEZs once again reflects the increasing economical impact of the SEZs and its contribution to the country’s export earnings. The new policies of the government have paved a positive roadmap for the growth of our manufacturing and services industry, despite several challenges.”
He added, “Exports from SEZs have shown tremendous growth despite the challenges. Stiff competition from established and upcoming free zones from almost every country did not deter the momentum of growth in exports. SEZs have provided favourable conditions to boost growth of the manufacturing and service industry by eliminating unwanted policies and reducing delays in orders. SEZs provide a safe, secure and peaceful environment perfectly conducive to increase productivity and are capable of providing foreign investor with more than 500 acres to set up their plant quickly without any difficulties, disruptions or legal hassles. Single window clearances help further ease the process, allowing investors to start construction in 4 to 6 weeks, only possible in SEZs.”
The top country for export in value terms remains the United Arab Emirates (Rs 49,691 crore) followed by the United States of America (Rs 8,683 crore). Saudi Arabia has seen a jump of 115 per cent. Countries like Hong Kong, those in Africa, Kenya and Oman have seen negative trends but the overall exports have seen an increase. Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Germany and the Netherlands have shown consistent growth and have recorded growth figures of over 100 per cent, said a release.