Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said that India is being seen as a trusted partner by the rest of the world due to the government's efforts over building an ecosystem for trade and commerce.
"We are confident the way the world is giving importance to India today. World looks at India as their trusted partner. They look to have India in their supply chain. Agreements were honored in the most difficult of times," Piyush Goyal told Network18, on the sidelines of Dubai Expo 2022 on March 28.
Defends hike in retail fuel prices
As a result of the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, there is a rise in international crude prices. Rising crude oil prices have resulted in a recent increase in the retail prices of petrol and diesel.
Defending the recent hike in the fuel prices, Goyal said the prices of all edibles and food products have been hiked globally in the view of ongoing geopolitical risks.
"Internationally, there is a price increase of every commodity. Prices of edible oil and food products are going up. Petroleum prices have shot up, gone through the roof and beyond anybody's control," the Union Minister said when asked whether any concessions will come in the form of reduced central taxes, or whether states should take the initiative to cut local taxes to lessen the burden on common people.
'India has kept the prices of commodities in check'
Goyal said that the government has tried to keep costs of several commodities under control, despite the fact that they have been rapidly increased in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis.
"International prices have doubled. Despite that, India is taking a very calibrated approach. India is able to manage its prices relatively well when compared with the rest of the world. There will be more clarity when how this situation plays out in the world. We have to see for how long the prices will remain elevated at the international level," Goyal said.
'India-UAE FTA may come into force from May 1'
The free trade agreement (FTA) or the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that will reduce import duties on the majority of Indian exports to the UAE, is likely to come into effect from May 1, 2022, said Goyal.
The minister stated that they are working quickly to complete all of the documentation, including all customs notifications.
"With UAE, we are completing the necessary notifications on customs. We will put out in the public domain. By May 1, we hope to see CEPA being operationalised," said the Union Minister.
The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed in February this year by India and the UAE in February this year aims to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion in the next five years from the current $60 billion.
'FTA between India, GCC underway'
The Union Minister also said India has started the scoping exercise of deciding the type of FTA with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to enhance the country's economic trade between the two sides.
"Negotiations are on with the GCC countries to finalise the scope of a potential free trade agreement. Good progress also happening with several other countries for expansion of bilateral trade, goods and services, and along with this discussion on investments also," he said.
'India believes in peace and only way forward is dialogue'
On the question of India's relation with Russia and it is being tested now on account of the ongoing Ukraine crisis, Goyal said that India believes in peace and the only way forward is dialogue to resolve the rising tensions.
"India has taken a very balanced approach. PM Modi is in touch with all the world leaders. India believes in peace. India believes in the quick cessation of all hostilities. The only way forward is dialogue. The foreign minister is actively involved in protecting India's national interests."