ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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COMMENTARY- Are Colonials Cousins

exports. It can be observed that it is with respect to the traditional exports that competition exists between the south-east Asian economies and India. Thus, gems and jewellery which contribute around 14 per cent to Indian exports face competition from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Similarly, in case of rice we face competition from Thailand. However, India mainly exports the 'basmati' variety of rice which Thailand does not produce at all, though it happens to be the major world exporter of rice. In this sense, basmati does not compete with Thai rice. However, if Thai rice were to become very cheap due to steep depreciation, then at what point would the consumers start substituting basmati with Thai rice is the moot question. Thus, though we know the areas where competition exists between India and southeast Asian economies, the manner in which our exports would be affected would depend on individual price elasticities and the role which 'quality' plays in our exports. What we can see from the data is that almost 40 per cent of our exports have become vulnerable to a greater or lesser degree due to the depreciations in the south-east Asian region and this in a scenario of lower world growth rates.

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