India does not rush into free trade pacts: Goyal

New Delhi: Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said that the government does not rush to conclude trade negotiations, but follows a careful and calibrated approach because Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) impact the country for several years.

During an interaction at the Raisina Dialogue 2024, the Minister explained that extensive stakeholder consultations and inter-ministerial meetings are conducted during trade negotiations to ensure that FTAs are fair, equitable and balanced.

Goyal said that there are attempts to include issues in the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference, to be held in Abu Dhabi next week, that are not part of world trade and India will try to ensure that the guiding principles of WTO are maintained.

The Minister highlighted India’s role in the past at the WTO ministerial conferences and expressed strong support for making the organisation stronger with the necessary reforms.

He said that the WTO is important for a fair and robust multilateral trading system.

On the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) issue, Goyal said that India is concerned by the tax imposition of the European Union (EU) and will take up the issue within the rules of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and will also look to address the issue bilaterally with the EU.

He also assured the stakeholders that the government is conscious of the challenges and will work towards turning this challenge into an opportunity.

Goyal emphasised that India is willing to engage with the world and be competitive by embracing global value chains and becoming self-reliant.

He said that the large domestic market coupled with the nation’s ability to innovate will make India the best destination for investments.

The Minister said that the government undertook initiatives to perform, reform and transform the economy to ensure that India becomes a developed nation with strong macroeconomic fundamentals.

“The aim of the welfare schemes is to reach the beneficiaries at the last mile,” he said.

Goyal added that the government has undertaken initiatives for food security, healthcare, education, housing and infrastructure for public welfare.

The Minister cited multiple initiatives like Make in India, Startup India, Digital India and Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes that have transformed India into the fastest developing large economy.

He noted that these initiatives encourage private and public investment in infrastructure and manufacturing which will help India become a developed economy by 2047.

IANS

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