Proponents of free trade have often hailed international trade as an engine of economic growth. However, the foreign trade sector, like many other sectors in developing countries, frequently involves these countries walking a tightrope between their developmental objectives and environmental goals. In this regard, prioritizing for developing a 'green' yet internationally competitive export portfolio provides a quintessential win-win solution to the problem. This study factors in both environmental benignity (indicated by total CO2 emission intensity) as well as trade competitiveness (indicated by revealed comparative advantage index) in identifying the 'ideal' Indian export portfolio. The analysis calculates the level of direct and indirect emissions from the foreign trade sector (exports and imports) using the environmental input-output (EIO) matrix for 2003/04 for India that has been jointly developed by researchers from Keio University, Japan, and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi. The derived basket is compared to the current portfolio to estimate the potential saving from compositional changes and to suggest directions for policymaking to emphasize or de-emphasize the export of certain categories of exports.
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