This is the Fifth Trade Policy Review of India. The period since the previous Review in May 2007 largely fell under the shadow of the global economic crisis. Most parts of the world are still struggling to recover from the recession. While India did not escape unscathed, the pragmatic economic policies and calibrated reforms pursued during the past two decades minimised the impact of the global meltdown and enabled a return to a near normal growth rate in 2009‑10.
While all the major macroeconomic variables, namely, GDP, exports and imports showed a decline in 2009‑10, the impact on India was relatively muted when compared with most other major economies. The resilience of the Indian economy and its ability to cope with the global downturn despite greater openness, was the result of a range of reforms, including financial sector reforms, pragmatic banking regulations and supervision, a cautious approach towards the liberalization of capital flows, especially short‑term debt, building up of ample foreign exchange reserves, coupled with strong domestic demand and underlying strong macroeconomic fundamentals.
The focus of the Government has been on sustainable and inclusive development. Significant attention is being given to rural development, skill development, innovation and financial inclusion. India faces enormous challenges in several areas, namely, physical and social infrastructure, inflation, energy security, agricultural growth and food security. The Government has taken various policy initiatives to tackle these challenges and is determined in its efforts to overcome them to ensure a smooth road to growth and development.
On the trade front, during the four year period under review, exports grew at a compound annual growth rate of 18.1%, while imports grew by 17.2%. India's share in global exports registered a small increase from 0.9% in 2006 to 1.3% in 2009. Her share in world imports also increased from 1.3% in 2006 to 2% in 2009.
Despite the global meltdown and its effect on the economy, India's engagement with the world continued to widen and deepen. India's ongoing transparency and trade facilitation efforts, including autonomous reduction of tariffs, stayed on course. India remained an active participant in efforts to further liberalize trade, especially in the multilateral trade negotiations in the WTO. In order to re‑energise the Doha Round of trade negotiations, India took the initiative to host an informal mini‑Ministerial meeting in New Delhi in September 2009, which had a positive impact on the process of negotiations. During this period, India negotiated and concluded WTO‑consistent trade agreements with ASEAN, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and Japan.