Free trade agreements are two-way traffic, be competitive: loyal to the industry

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TRADE MINISTER Piyush Goyal told industry on Friday that as free trade agreements (FTAs) are two-way traffic, Indian consumers should not be forced to buy expensive domestic products in areas where other countries have a comparative advantage.

“FTAs are two-way traffic. It cannot be unilateral access for Indian goods and services alone,” Goyal told a virtual session of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Merchants, adding that the country was considering reciprocal access. , good market conditions and a fair and equitable game in the goods. and services in FTA negotiations.

India is currently in the process of negotiating FTAs ​​with the UK, UAE, Australia, Israel and the EU. He added that the industry should have a greater appetite for risk and should seek to invest more in labour-intensive sectors. “Our focus is wherever we have a competitive or comparative advantage, we should look at market access and wherever the advantage is with another country, we don’t have to force the Indian consumer to buy expensive,” he said. he said, adding that India already had market access in existing FTAs ​​such as those with Japan and Korea.

“In fact, when there is more access with different markets, we hope that products will be available at more competitive prices on which we can add value, especially in labor-oriented areas. work and grow our business,” he said.

Goyal noted that Indian industry would also need market access in other countries to grow once domestic markets become saturated.

India, however, has called for a review of existing FTAs, including those with Japan, Korea and ASEAN, as India’s trade deficit with these countries widened after the deals. Experts have said that Indian industry has not been able to avail market access in these FTAs ​​as it is not competitive enough to be able to increase exports to these countries. Goyal said India was also close to starting FTA negotiations with Canada and the Gulf Cooperation Council. He said players had raised concerns about their inability to compete with Bangladesh, Vietnam and others that had no tariff access to major markets.

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