New Delhi: The Commerce and Industry Ministry on Thursday asked the automobile industry to explore new markets in Africa and Asia to boost exports in the wake of demand slowdown in the western markets.
The world trade is contracting and multi-lateral organisations like WTO has downgraded the world trade from 3.5 percent to 3.1 percent, Commerce Secretary S R Rao said here at 52nd annual convention of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
"In the last 3-4 years, there has been a perceptible shift in the world trade. The world trade is now controlled substantially and significantly by South-South countries," he said.
Rao said the automobile sector assumes huge importance in terms of creating employment and manufacturing skills.
"Huge potential exists in African markets for the sector. Look at the new markets other than the traditional ones," the Secretary said adding the sovereign debt crisis in Europe is worsening.
India's auto exports during April-July period declined by 4 percent to 9,78,709 units from 10,19,817 units in the same period last year.
Speaking at the occasion, Heavy Industries Secretary S Sundareshan said that the government is taking several steps to boost the growth of the sector.
He said the government would soon set up a National Automotive Board as a nodal agency for all policy and certification related issues of the industry.
Another major initiative is National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRIP). It was formed to set up new auto testing and R&D centres along with upgrading the existing ones.