India to ensure free trade pacts that are mutually beneficial: Government
New Delhi: India will not 'indiscriminately' enter into free trade agreements (FTAs) and ensure that such deals are mutually beneficial, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Domestic industry and exporters have raised concerns over these pacts saying they have benefited India's trading partners more."We are certainly going to look at trade deals which are mutually beneficial to both the trading partners. Trade deal merely because it is part of economic diplomacy is not essential," he said.
Jaitley was replying to questions on FTAs and India's decision to defer negotiations with the European Union (EU) on the proposed trade pact at 'India Summit 2015'. "We have entered into large number of trade deals but entering indiscriminately into (free) trade agreements and then having concerns a few years later is not the wise thing. I think its better to move carefully but surely," he added.
Expressing disappointment and concern over EU's banning the sale of around 700 pharma products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences, India last month deferred talks with the EU on the proposed free trade agreement. Chief negotiators of India and the EU were scheduled to resume the negotiations on the Broadbased Investment and Trade Agreement (BTIA) last month. Jaitley said the government has received lot of grievances from the domestic industry on the number of FTAs that the country had signed in the past.
"Therefore a trade policy and foreign policy operate in different directions. One need not necessarily dictate the other," he added. Domestic steel players have been demanding withdrawal of the commodity from the free trade pact with Japan and South Korea. India has also implemented with Asean and Singapore.
Jaitley said the country needs trade and manufacturing and "therefore India is not going to lag behind as far as trade deals are concerned". The country is negotiating over a dozen pacts including with Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Indonesia.