The government does not rush to conclude trade negotiations because Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) impact the country for several years and follows a careful and calibrated approach, Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said.

Extensive stakeholder consultations and inter-ministerial meetings are conducted during FTA negotiations to ensure that FTAs are fair, equitable and balanced, the Minister said at an interaction at the Raisina Dialogue 2024 on Friday.

India, right now, is trying to conclude FTA talks with the UK, which seems to be stuck on some last mile issues, including market access for goods and certain services.

On the forthcoming WTO Ministerial Conference 13 (MC13) to be held next week in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Goyal said that there are attempts to include issues in the WTO that are not part of world trade and India will try to ensure that the guiding principles of WTO are maintained. 

Plurilateral pacts

The Minister’s comments are important as there may be pressure on India to allow plurilateral agreements in areas such as investment facilitation.

The Minister highlighted India’s role in the past at the WTO MCs and expressed strong support for making the organisation stronger with the necessary reforms. 

On the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) issue, Goyal reiterated that India was concerned about the proposed EU tax. He said the matter will be taken up by India within the rules of the WTO and it will also look to address the issue bilaterally with the EU. The Minister assured the stakeholders that the government was conscious of the challenges and would work towards turning it into an opportunity.