India believes that trade can contribute significantly to economic growth and employment generation. The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2004‑09 set out the objective of doubling India's percentage share in total global merchandise trade within a time‑frame of five years and to use trade as an effective instrument of economic growth and employment generation.32 India's exports increased from US$63 billion in 2003‑04 to US$185 billion in 2008‑09. India's share in global merchandise trade increased from 0.8% in 2003 to 1.4% in 2008, as per WTO estimates. India's share in total global goods and services trade was 0.9% in 2003, which increased to 1.6% in 2008. The increase in exports in the period 2004‑09 created nearly 14 million jobs directly or indirectly.
The Foreign Trade Policy 2009‑14 was announced in 2009 in challenging times, when there was a slowdown in exports all over the world due to the global economic crisis. The immediate objective of FTP 2009‑14, therefore, was to arrest and reverse the declining trend of exports. The Policy aimed for an annual export growth of 15% with an annual export target of US$200 billion by March 2011. It also envisaged returning to a high export growth path of around 25% per annum in the remaining three years of the FTP i.e. up to 2014. The long‑term policy objective of the FTP is to double India's share in global trade by 2020. Special emphasis has been given to employment intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, handicrafts, etc., to arrest the job losses in these sectors in the wake of the global recession.
India's export performance exceeded the target of US$200 billion in 2010‑11 by US$46 billion. India now aims to achieve exports of US$500 billion by 2013‑14, with a compound annual growth rate of 26.7%, throughquality upgradation of export products; export of high technology products; diversification of markets; expansion of the export basket; and moving up the value chain.33
India has put in place a policy for developing special economic zones (SEZs), with the main objectives of development of infrastructure facilities, generation of additional economic activity, promotion of exports of goods and services, promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources and creation of employment opportunities.