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India wants equitable terms in our trade relations with various countries: Goyal

PTI Davos | Updated on January 21, 2020 Published on January 21, 2020

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Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday called for greater cooperation among various nations to realise the huge growth prospects in the Indian Ocean region and also for tackling the important issue of climate change

 

He said India has contributed the least to global warming, but is still being very responsible on fossil fuels, while the western world is not doing enough even after accounting for more than half of the carbon emissions.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Goyal said India is committed to safeguarding the interest of its people while welcoming investors from across the world by making regulations easier for them.

Trade cannot be dictated by diplomacy: Goyal

Goyal said the RCEP in its present form was clearly an unworkable agreement. “Any pact needs to take into account several factors. India is grappling with a huge trade deficit, particularly with China and many other nations in the region,” he said.

For the first time, India demonstrated that trade cannot be dictated by diplomacy, Goyal said, referring to India’s decision to pull out of the RCEP.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has had to factor in several diversities among partners, but India has serious concerns about climate change and is seeking greater cooperation on fair terms, he asserted.

“We are like a pivot for the Indian Ocean and we believe this region has huge potential. At the same time, India is very much concerned about the issue of climate change. Going forward, the entire grouping around the Indian Ocean will play a very important role, while keeping in mind fair and equitable distribution. India also expects greater cooperation among various nations on climate change,” he said.

Goyal further said, “We in India are also working on how to put in place more equitable terms in our trade relations with various countries.”

On whether India can still join RCEP, Goyal said the country had said at that time too that it will not be able to join the trade deal in its current form. If nations provide adequate transparency safeguards and if non-tariff barriers are addressed, there is always scope for a fresh dialogue, he added.

Focus on reforms

“When it comes to governance and easing regulations, India was at a disadvantageous position for many years but a conscious decision was made soon after our government came to remove all those legacy issues and to make the growth story equitable for all,” the Minister for Railways as well as Commerce and Industry said.

“We want to provide right opportunities for our people and at the same time safeguard the interests of the investors as well. We are always trying to make India more investor friendly and we are talking to our friends across the world on how to improve our infrastructure. We are showcasing infrastructure projects in various countries to get the best from them,” he said. However, he said that India will ensure that any cross border investment, including for outbound investments, in the sector does not result in any kind of domination.

Balancing act

He said, “In fact, India has contributed the least to the global warming. The western world, which has given more than 50 per cent of carbon emissions up there, is not doing much actually. We in India are doing so much, including through our programme on LED bulbs.”

On how India is balancing its coal and renewable energy sources, Goyal said, “Every country in their development phase has exploited coal, but we are much more responsible and are using coal as a base load power for our renewable energy. That’s actually important for our renewable push.”

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Published on January 21, 2020
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