Free Trade Agreements being signed in much ?faster? way nowadays: FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are being signed in a much ‘faster’ way nowadays and also stated that the India-UK FTA negotiations are ‘going on as we speak’. She said ‘FTAs are being signed in a much faster way nowadays. We've just concluded one with Australia. Earlier we concluded with UAE, Mauritius and with ASEAN. We have extended quota-free and tariff-free regime to Least Developed Countries’. The India-UK Free Trade Agreement talks were launched on June 17, 2022.

About India's wish to pursue trade with multilateral groups, she said ‘I think India has shown very clearly its initiative is working out well in pursuing with countries and agreeing to have FTA with them. We've had agreements with ASEAN, free trade agreements both in goods and services with ASEAN, we have had with Korea, with Japan. So free trade agreements have bilaterally or with multilateral groups been the route which India has had till before 2014 and now between 2019 and today, we've had at least three major agreements signed. So, we shall proceed in that route, with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada. All three are happening now as we speak, the negotiations are going on. So we shall go in those preferential routes.’

Sitharaman further urged World Trade Organisation (WTO) to bring transparency in terms of moratorium. She added that India is poised for a more important role in the global value chains. She also said ‘given the shocks witnessed due to supply chain disruptions, MNCs have become prudent & are diversifying. India is attractive because of its skilled youth and large domestic market’. She highlighted that India's growth is sustainable as it attempts to grow its manufacturing sector and not import products that it manufactures. She added ‘India needs to have resilient value chains come to India for which we came up with Production Linked Incentives (PLI) schemes so that those supply chains can thrive in domestic as well as int'l markets’.