VISAKHAPATNAM: The government today said it’s open to reviewing and renegotiating the free trade agreements (FTAs) with different countries to address the concerns of the domestic industry as there are both “pluses and minuses” in such pacts.
“Industry has been voicing their concerns about FTAs which have been signed much before this regime came in. There are a lot of issues to be flagged. We need to review them. We need to renegotiate them,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said here at the CII’s Partnership Summit.
India has FTA with over a dozen countries such as Japan, South Korea and Asean and negotiations are on with countries like the European Union, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
Referring to the WTO negotiations, Sitharaman said India strongly believes in multi-lateralism and is fully committed to the free and fair global trade.
She also said: “Sometimes, it takes time for any issue to be concluded at WTO and due to this, a few countries do not feel confident that any agenda can get within a time period to its logical conclusion.”
She added: “This is one of the arguments which is held against the Doha Development Agenda, which was brought in nearly 15 years ago. Many of the discussion points that suit most of the countries present here, LDCs and small vulnerable economies could not reach a logical conclusion.”
This, the minister said, has led to a “lot of frustration” and many people think that the issues of importance for developing countries are not moving fast enough.
Several developing countries, including India, had pitched for early and successful conclusion of the pending issues of the Doha round at the Nairobi meeting last month though it did not find favour with the developed nations.
This has made India express its serious disappointment, with tussle between developed countries and developing ones getting reflected in the (WTO) platform.
Allaying fears about a mega Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) on India, she said there was nothing to worry about the adverse impact on India.
“We have taken necessary steps to boost India’s trade and investment in the wake of emerging new trade architecture,” Sitharaman added.