India does not rush into trade agreements if it is not fair, balanced, equitable: Goyal

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India does not rush into trade agreements if it is not fair, balanced, equitable: Goyal
Source: PTI
New Delhi, India does not 'rush' into any Free Trade Agreement (FTA) if the pact is not equitable, balanced, and fair for the country, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said. He said that the ground realities in India have changed now and the offers made by partner countries in these agreements are "not at all" comparable to what India is offering to the world.
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At present, negotiations for FTAs with the UK, Oman, and the four-nation European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are nearing conclusion.

EFTA members are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

The minister also said that India should never rush for trade negotiations as they are going to impact the country for years and years to come.

"We enter into negotiations with our eyes wide open, we do extensive stakeholder negotiations...we do a lot of inter-ministerial consultations. We crystal gaze into the future and see that India offers the best business opportunities.

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"Sometimes trade negotiations take time because the other sides take time to understand what really is happening in India, how the India story is panning out, how new India is emerging. And some people also live in a colonial mindset of the past, so it takes us some more time to get them to understand that ground realities have changed.

What is on the offer on their side is not at all comparable to what we are offering to the world and therefore unless it is a very equitable, balanced, and fair trade agreement, India does not rush into trade agreements anymore," he said.

Goyal said this at the Raisina Dialogue 2024 here. He was replying to a question about why trade negotiations with the UK and the EU (European Union) are proving more complicated.

He added that some free trade agreements signed by the previous government have issues as adequate due diligence was not followed.

In some cases, a little bit of rush to enter into an FTA was also there earlier, he said.

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India and the UK launched the talks for an FTA in January 2022 with a view to boost economic ties between the two nations.

There are 26 chapters in the agreement, which include goods, services, investments, and intellectual property rights.

The bilateral trade between India and the UK increased to USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23 from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22.

The seventh round of India-European Union talks is underway here. In June 2022, India and the EU restarted the negotiations for the long-pending trade and investment agreement after a gap of over eight years.
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