No new FTA signed in last 3 years: Nirmala Sitharaman

Commerce Minister says there are several factors behind negative growth in exports.

New Delhi: India has not signed any new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during the last three years, Parliament was informed today.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, however, said that under the India-ASEAN framework agreement, the pacts on trade in services and investments were signed in November 2014 which became effective July 2015.

"India has not signed any new FTA or preferential trade agreement during the last three years," she said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

In a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on limited number of goods traded between them. It is followed by FTA which covers bulk of goods and also include services and investments.

Replying to a separate question, she said there are several factors behind negative growth in exports which include fall in commodity and crude petroleum prices.

"Fall in the prices of crude petroleum resulting in decline in unit prices of downstream products (a major exports sector for India) thereby impacting export realisations," she added.

The world GDP growth is not encouraging and there has been shrinkage in over all global demand and hence, slow down in world trade, she said, adding, three destinations - the EU, the US and China - account for major portion of India's exports.

"The EU countries are facing problems of stagnation and deflation. The recovery in the US has been moderate. China is also experiencing a slowdown for some time," she added.

In another reply, Sitharaman said the re-development of Pragati Maidan complex entails a comprehensive and integrated approach to set up a much needed world class state-of-the art and iconic integrated exhibition-cum-convention centre.

"This is proposed to be developed in two phases by dismantling 23 state pavilions and 5 central ministry pavilions...and other building structures coming in the area. The Hall of Nations and the Nehru Pavilion are also included in this list," she said.

She also said that representations have been received along with some international organisations with a request to save the Hall of Nations and the Nehru Pavilion, stating that these buildings are heritage buildings in nature.

"ITPO has examined the representations and after due consideration informed that neither the Hall of Nations nor the Nehru Pavilion in the premises of Pragati Maidan are notified a Heritage building by the Delhi Urban Art Commission or the Archaeological Survey of India," she said.

( Source : PTI )
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