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Disappointed by pushback from local industry in trade matters, says Minister Piyush Goyal

The commerce minister added that the UK is keen to finalise the Free Trade Agreement with India by the original deadline despite the setback caused to the process by the demise of Queen Elizabeth II

September 20, 2022 / 10:02 PM IST
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal (File Image)

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal (File Image)


Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed his disappointment with the domestic industry, saying the rest of the world seems to have more confidence in India than local players had in themselves.

"I talk to different industry segments and sometimes the pushback I get is actually disappointing because I believe we are not understanding that the world will open up opportunities for us also. Sometimes we become too protectionist; we don't realise that now those days are gone. If we want expanded markets, we have to engage with the world," Goyal said on September 20 in the Capital at an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry.

"The world wants to engage with us. The world has more confidence in us than I think we have in ourselves," the minister added.

Goyal's comments seemingly echo those of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who last week compared India's industrialists to Hindu god Hanuman and asked why weren't they investing in expanding capacities despite the rest of the world being of the opinion that India "is the place to be in now".

"Is it like Hanuman and you don't believe in your own capacity and strength?" the finance minister had asked industry leaders on September 13.

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In his remarks today, Commerce Minister Goyal also said the commerce ministry was up to its neck in talks with other countries on Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and did not have the capacity to enter into more such talks despite there being plenty of interest from around the world.

"I was with the New Zealand minister just before I came here. While New Zealand is far away, very small economic interest, but he said even if you are not interested in an FTA – and honestly I have no bandwidth to start any more FTAs. I already have Israel waiting in the wings, apart from the UK, Canada, and the EU," Goyal said.

The commerce minister added that the Gulf Cooperation Council was also keen to launch negotiations, with the terms of reference now finalised.

One FTA that is close to conclusion is with the UK, with the demise of Queen Elizabeth II proving only a “little setback”."I just received a letter two days back again reiterating that they (UK) want to stick to the Diwali deadline. That is the interest the world has in India,” Goyal said.
Siddharth Upasani is a Special Correspondent at Moneycontrol. He has been covering the Indian economy, economic data, and monetary and fiscal policies for nine years. He tweets at @SiddharthUbiWan. Contact: siddharth.upasani@nw18.com
first published: Sep 20, 2022 09:31 pm
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