Home >Companies >News >We have to get out and tell the world that luxury is in India: Nirmala Sitharaman

Mumbai: India has to build a culture of branding and marketing its products to the rest of the world, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at the inauguration of the Mint Luxury Conference in Mumbai on Friday.

“We don’t have this culture of branding for the sake of selling it to somebody. Our artisans have done excellent works for the rest of the world to come searching for them, but they never have branded or marketed their work," she said. “We have to get out of it and see how best we can tell the world that whether you are looking at textiles, hospitality, gems and jewellery, food, wellness, health or personal care, luxury is in India."

Whether it is organic farm produce from Sikkim or the resorts of Rajasthan, they have to take a relook at the way they brand and sell themselves, Sitharaman said.

When asked about the difficulties faced by foreign retailers because of norms that make it mandatory for single-brand retailers to source 30% from domestic companies, Sitharaman said the government will take a look at the issue in the next budget.

“The budget preparations have started from Thursday. The finance minister and myself have started doing the pre-budget consultations. I take this as the first input for this. Let’s see what happens," she said.

However, on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, Sitharaman reiterated the government’s stated position.

“As long as multi-brand retail relates largely to every day retail, be it durables or perishables, there is a consciousness that Indian traders and suppliers are not yet ready to face the onslaught of multi-brand retail," she said, ruling out allowing FDI in the sector anytime soon.

On the stalled India-European Union free trade agreement (FTA), Sitharaman said the EU needs to get back to showing real interest in the proposed deal.

“The European ambassador has been in touch with me. He has met me more than two times. I have asked him to come back to confirm to me that EU is indeed interested in an FTA with India because from our point of view, there is greater interest in Europe in pluri-lateral agreements like the TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). It is not very clear whether EU is really looking forward to an FTA with India. We are open-minded. The moment they approach us, we are willing to start talking," she added.

On Nokia Oyj shutting down its plant near Chennai, Sitharaman said that a delegation had met her on the issue of job losses and on the prospect of government intervention. “We will look into the memorandum that has been given by the delegation. I will have to consult and discuss with the government," she said on the sidelines of the conference.

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