India to reassess FTAs to protect domestic industry: Commerce Minister

Press Trust of India | 26.12.2013

India to reassess FTAs to protect domestic industry: Commerce Minister

Kolkata: India will look into the provisions of all the Free Trade Agreements with other countries so as to protect the interest of the domestic industry, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry E M S Natchiappan said.

"India will go into the provisions of all the FTAs which the country has signed with other nations. There have been representations from various quarters of the country indicating the negative impact of such pacts. We will protect the domestic industry," Natchiappan said at an interactive session organised by MCC Chamber of Industry here today.

Making a point, he said the India-Thailand FTA provisions would be re-assessed as the domestic electronics industry was getting affected.

He said early talks in this regard were already initiated and further progress would be made once a democratically-elected government assumes office in that nation.

"FTAs should be looked as a protective mechanism and not to destroy the domestic industry," he said.

India has implemented such trade pacts with several countries including Japan, Korea and Singapore. It is also negotiating over a dozen agreements with nations like Australia and Canada as well as the European Union.

However, industry bodies and exporters’ grouping FIEO have raised concerns over the impact of FTAs on the domestic market.

India’s imports from Japan, with which it implemented a comprehensive free trade agreement in 2011, increased by over 3 percent to USD 12.5 billion during the last fiscal.

Similarly, the country’s imports from Malaysia grew by 9 percent to USD 10.43 billion in 2012-13, from USD 9.55 billion during the previous fiscal.

The country’s exports to Japan declined to USD 6.26 billion during the last fiscal, from USD 6.32 billion in 2011-12.

Earlier this year, Commerce Secretary S R Rao had said that India will be benefited more in the medium-to-long term from these FTAs.

On declining exports to FTA countries, Rao said: "It will take time for us to be able to do more (exports) in these countries."

Meanwhile, regarding China, Natchiappan said that there had been a number of complaints from Indian importers that goods ordered for were not being delivered in time.

"We have asked the Chinese government to set up a dispute redressal system to settle the matters," he said.

PTI

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source: PTI