FTAs will be finalized after discussions with industry, says Minister Piyush Goyal
If the industry thinks it would gain better market access to the US, UK and Canada without also opening the Indian market to companies from those countries, “then there is no future for industry, so forget FTAs and markets,” he said.
Goyal was speaking at the ICN Plenary Session on ‘
Between the State and businesses for sustainable growth”.
Citing an example, he said, “If you think I (industry) can export textiles duty free to Europe and become competitive, but don’t allow any yarns or textiles to come to India, don’t open them the wine sector, don’t open the automotive (sector)… If this is your behavior, then there is no future for the industry, so forget the FTAs and the markets.”
“I can assure you that no FTA will hurt you. Every FTA will be finalized after holding discussions with you… In every product, every country cannot be competitive.
“Wherever our strengths are there, we have to exploit that and in some products we also have to show a generous heart, then only the FTA can be concluded, otherwise no. I will therefore seek your support and cooperation in this regard,” Goyal said.
India is negotiating free trade pacts with countries like Australia, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Under such agreements, two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate import/tariff duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.
The minister also suggested that the CII chamber of industry could take the initiative to set up a fund with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore to provide seed funding to domestic startups as foreign companies are buying up the startups at rates cheaper.
“They should all… Tatas, Ambanis, Bajajs and Birlas, you should all participate. Even if you launch with Rs 100 crore, Rs 200 crore, Rs 500 crore each, the startups in the country will get huge support…
“Please help create value for our startups, and you will also benefit…even if one in 10 companies does well…and I would go so far as to say that if 1 or 2 or 4 or 10 cases.
He added that the real synergy is that “we should both have the same concerns for our people” and that this is a joint responsibility of government and industry.
On vaccination, the minister urged industry to procure 25% of COVID-19 vaccines and vaccinate people.
The industry had made “big claims” about vaccinating employees, their family members and villagers around their factories, but “I look forward to seeing this synergy and urge you all to reflect on the big promises made and to see what more you can do.”
Additionally, Goyal said the industry should not look for ways to circumvent government policies such as foreign direct investment standards.
“When I see Tata Sons that they oppose certain laws or regulations on the consumer benefits I bring, then frankly it hurts…” he said, adding “me, myself , my business, we have to move on from this.”
He also urged domestic companies to use made-in-India products, even if they are a bit expensive, and to show some willingness to support MSMEs and pay their dues in a timely manner.
“What is our commitment to India, we have to introspect it,” he said, adding that there was a need to increase synergy between chambers of industry.