India seeks reciprocal, equitable access to foreign markets through FTAs: Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal

India is looking at reciprocal and equitable access to foreign markets through free trade agreements, which the country is negotiating with its trading partners, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said. India is, at present, negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries like UAE, the UK, and Australia.

Under a free trade agreement, two trading partners reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. Besides, they liberalise norms to enhance trade in services and boost investments.

“Through the FTAs, we are looking at reciprocal and equitable access to foreign markets. FTA is a win-win for both countries. If it is an unequal balance, FTA can never be successful,” Goyal said at Times Now Summit 2021. He said that a few old FTAs of India which were not balanced have led to an increase in trade deficit with those nations.

“We are now going through careful stakeholder engagement (to negotiate an FTA) and making sure that our MSMEs, dairy industry, farmers, and domestic production capacities get more opportunities. Our employment-oriented sectors like textiles, footwear, and pharma get good market access,” he added. In such pacts, the government is also ensuring that services sector professionals too get good opportunities in foreign markets through two-way communication with Indian stakeholders, Goyal noted. “We are working through balanced, fair and equitable FTAs so that both sides benefit and jobs are created in India, and business opportunities are available for our small, medium and micro-industry,” Goyal said.

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