India is in the process of negotiating up to eight free trade agreements that are likely to be announced soon. Anurag Jain, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), while speaking at the release of vision document "$300 billion Sustainable Electronics Manufacturing & Exports by 2026," said: "We are in the process of negotiating seven to eight FTAs. And that should come up very soon in the next one and a half years." However, the secretary did not reveal details about these FTAs.
Free trade agreements are pacts between two or more nations that are signed to reduce barriers to imports and exports between them. FTAs usually eliminate or minimise government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, purchase and sale of goods and services between the nations. Given the nature of FTAs, it requires giving something in return. However, Jain highlighted that the industry does not support the department fully in negotiations.
"When we ask the industry, they come out with only asking for the not to give this, but when you actually negotiate an FTA, you have to give something to get something back. So, we have to be very careful in asking what we want. You should be equal partners," said Anurag Jain. He further added that as a facilitator, the ministry is listening to the industry and wants ideas for FTAs. So if the industry has a crack team for finding out what FTAs should be like, analyse policies, come back with properly detailed inputs. DPIIT will be happy to have that, he argued.
Complementing MEITY and the electronics industry, he said, "I would like to compliment you for coming out with this idea of launch of mission document. The $300 billion for sustainable electronics, this is a true example of industry government partnership. The way you have worked together. It's a fantastic effort, I would say it's an effort in the right direction. But we should be more aggressive at is what we should be looking at."
Jain further stated that in the next 25 years, India should look at becoming a superpower.
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