India’s auto components industry has, for the first time, recorded a trade surplus of USD 600 million

India's merchandise exports will certainly cross USD 400 billion in the current fiscal, Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.

Addressing the Atmanirbhar Excellence Awards and 7th Technology Summit 2022, Goyal said that India’s merchandise exports had reached almost USD 390 billion as of March 14.

Speaking at the event organized by the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) in New Delhi, the minister also pointed out that India’s auto components industry had, for the first time, recorded a trade surplus of USD 600 million.

According to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India’s automotive industry is worth more that USD 100 billion and contributes 8% of country’s total export and accounts for 2.3% of India's GDP and is set to become the 3rd largest in the world by 2025.

Goyal appreciated the resilient auto industry players who adapted and evolved to keep the industry going despite the five Cs, - challenges of COVID-19, container shortages, chip shortages, commodity prices and conflict.

He said the government was sensitive to auto sector’s concerns related to chips shortage. The recently approved Semicon India Programme with a budget of 76,000 Crores would help reduce import dependence and eventually help us become Atmanirbhar in the arena of chips, he said.

The nimble Government and agile Industry working together collectively could capture markets across the world, Goyal added.

Highlighting India’s capabilities in the field of auto components manufacturing, the Minister asked automakers to make greater use of Indian made components. Stating that the Government held back stringent norms regarding import substitution due to Covid-19 and industry assurances on securing equal market access, the Minister urged automakers to buy local and substitute imports.

Speaking about the opportunities for the future of mobility, Goyal said that mobility of tomorrow would be dependent on the 7 Cs, - Common, Connected, Convenient, Congestion-free, Charged, Clean and Cutting edge.

He gave a four-point call for action to the auto components industry for to be future ready.

* He asked them to invest more in R&D, especially e-mobility, especially and battery tech.

* He urged them to disrupt existing targets, set higher benchmarks for performance and aspire to take 5 Indian companies in top 50 global automotive suppliers club.

* He encouraged them to identify core competencies and isolate key areas to reduce import reliance.

* He also called for designing world-class quality standards in the automotive sector.

Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Goyal said that mobility is the next frontier in our fight against climate change.

He asserted India was poised at the cusp of an e-mobility revolution, adding that the mobility landscape is expected to undergo a deep structural change. He asked auto-makers to look upon sustainability as an opportunity and not a challenge.

The Commerce & Industry Minister also asked the automotive industry to work on improving the e-mobility ecosystem, including fuel cell vehicles with Hydrogen storage, higher Lithium-Ion battery capacity at low price and better charging infrastructure.

Referring to the budgetary push to the EV industry, Goyal said that India has the potential to become a hub for EVs and Integrated Circuits (IC) technology. Expressing concern that lower volume of production would prohibit scale of production thus affecting business viability, he called for the promotion of scale of production in e-mobility.