FTA with China unlikely: Nath
Friday, January 11, 2008 (New Delhi):
India and China are expected to sign dozens of trade deals during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to China from January 13, but India is wary of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.
Once again the Commerce Minister Kamal Nath has said that no FTA is likely but that does not mean that trade ties will not strengthen.
The Prime Minister is ready for his first visit to China but is India ready for more bilateral trade with the communist power? Is it desirable to have a free trade agreement or what is now known as the three dreaded alphabets FTA? The answer is a no if one wee to believe India’s commerce minister.
"We will ask them to make their currency market driven. There are things to be worked out and we expect some cooperation in areas like chemicals and pharma," said Nath.
Kamal Nath is under tremendous pressure from industrialists like AM Naik who want serious action against China for dumping cheaper products. The low cost products has forced him to stop making some products and he has even gone to the extent of asking for an import duty on Chinese products to protect the industry.
So even as the Prime Minister heads to engage with the dragon there may be very little business to strike.
What we could end up with is a larger regional trade agreement and some rejig of non tariff barriers as India gets ready to step up the $39 billion bilateral trade figure to a new record.