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Business News/ Economy / Canada halted FTA discussions due to baseless misconceptions: Piyush Goyal

Canada halted FTA discussions due to baseless misconceptions: Piyush Goyal

At least two more countries want to start FTA talks with India

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal. (ANI Photo)Premium
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi: Free trade agreement (FTA) discussions between India and Canada were halted after the North American country stopped talks due to baseless misconceptions, a move that will hurt it more than India, minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), Goyal said at least two countries, apart from the ones which are currently negotiating with India, want to start FTA talks with India, as it is a huge market with high demand for goods and services. Not only that, countries currently in negotiations with India want to speed up the process.

Goyal didn't reveal the names of countries that want to start FTA negotiations with India.

The minister highlighted that India is increasingly being seen as a key driver of global growth, with businesses shifting their manufacturing bases to the country amid its unabated appeal.

The cessation of the India-Canada FTA discussions, which had only recently restarted after ten years, was prompted by Canadian authorities citing 'political concerns' over India's alleged role in the assassination of a Sikh leader in Canada, an accusation India has firmly rejected.

"They stopped the talks with us. There are some misconceptions among some Canadian politicians, which are baseless," Goyal said. “They will lose out (from halting the talks), India will not lose out. The Indian market is bigger, and our country offers (more) opportunities."

Goyal noted that free trade talks with the United Kingdom are progressing well, with the Indian government actively engaging with stakeholders to preempt any criticism of the potential agreement

The minister highlighted that multinational companies increasingly want to move their supply chain and production line to India, due to the attractiveness of investing in India.

"The world today recognises that there are 1.4 billion Indians. We (also) have the youngest population among the large countries," Goyal said. “India will create demand for the world. This will be the country where you can believe in a vibrant democracy, get a demographic dividend, free press, etc."

Goyal cited the examples of big corporations like Apple, HP, Suzuki, Siemens and others, who have either moved or are in the process of moving a large chunk of their production line to India.

Citing the example of Apple, he said that the US technology major wants to move at least 25% of its global production to India.

He also pointed out that international electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers, including ones from Saudi Arabia, want to start production facilities in India.

"These are long-drawn processes which won't happen overnight. It will take time," Goyal said. “India wants to take advantage of economies of scale, bring high-quality manufacturing, and give rise to technology-based companies."

The vision of the union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make India a manufacturing and production hub has gained traction on the back of the developed world's strategy to avoid investing only in China, the largest manufacturer in the world.

Apart from being a healthy consumer market for vast-ranging products such as fast-moving consumer goods, consumer durables, and food products, India also boasts the youngest demographic among the large nations and is cost-effective.

Goyal said he was confident that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will win the upcoming elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

"People of India have recognised that honest governments are the ones that can truly give better things to the common man," he said, adding that the NDA may breach the 400-seat mark in the Lok Sabha in the 2024 general elections. 

"The reality is if you look at the characteristics of these parties (opposition bloc namely the India Alliance), there are no parties (apart from Congress) which can influence elections in other states," he said.

BJP may win all 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh due to the popularity of Prime Minister Modi and chief minister Yogi Adityanath, he added.

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Published: 04 Nov 2023, 03:48 PM IST
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