INDIA COMMITTED TO ESTABLISH A RULE-BASED MULTILATERAL TRADING REGIME: ANAND SHARMA
TIME TO DIVERSIFY MARKETS – TO RAISE THE LEVEL OF INVESTMENT ADDRESSES HEADS OF MISSIONS
Date : 25 Aug 2009
Location : New Delhi
Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, while addressing the Heads of Missions Meeting at a session on “India and Doha Round” here today, said that India remains committed to the establishment of a rule-based multilateral trading regime and added that Doha Development Round has seen intense negotiations and several ups and downs. He informed the gathering that India is hosting a Ministerial Meeting of the WTO G-20 plus countries on 3rd and 4th September 2009, which will bring together Trade Ministers from all over the world to energise the process and to create a rainbow coalition of countries which are committed to a fair and equitable trading regime. “While we go to the negotiating table, we remain conscious of the interests of the millions of our farmers, the interests of our small and medium enterprises and we remain committed to the aspirations of our booming services industry to get greater market access. I remain optimistic that globally we will be able to find a way forward. It is equally important for countries of the West to acknowledge the historical imbalances which have queried the pitch for the developing world”, Shri Sharma said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister stated that “I feel that it is time that we diversify our markets to buffer the impact of this slowdown and also to take us back on high growth trajectory. Africa and Latin America afford a huge opportunity and it shall be my endeavour to intensify our economic engagement with the countries of this region. Greater synergies are required between our Missions and the Ministry of Commerce for this purpose. I have already directed my team to prepare a strategy paper for Africa and Latin America”. He further added that the critical requirement for accelerated growth is to raise the level of investment, and to maintain the same in the medium term. This necessarily would mean an improvement in the investment climate and an expansion in the absorptive capacity of the economy. “I feel that our diplomats need a strong understanding of the prevailing investment policies. There is need of greater synergies between different organs of government. The Ministry of Commerce & Industry will play a pro-active role in this regard and I propose to have a greater dialogue between our officers in the Ministry, industry and all of you who are present on the field. It is my intention and I will discuss it with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to hold regional meetings with Heads of Mission for a brainstorming for fostering greater understanding of both sides”, Shri Sharma said.
Interacting with the diplomats, Shri Sharma said that India would like to encourage companies to establish manufacturing bases, bring in technology transfer and at the same time create employment. Investment promotion requires a close partnership with the private sector and India would welcome high value investments which catalyze exports, he added.
“We have noticed the disturbing trend of the growing tendency of protectionism amongst countries of the West. It is my firm belief that such measures are delaying economic recovery and prolonging recession. It is a time in which leadership will be tested to break down barriers and not to erect new ones. The Law enacting “Buy America” provisions is a case in point. Similarly, we have seen the imposition of non tariff barriers to free trade. Our consignments of pharmaceuticals bound for Africa are repeatedly held up in EU. I will urge our Missions to remain vigilant to such trends to enable us to prepare an effective response”, Shri Sharma said.
Shri Sharma informed the Heads of Missions that ASEAN is a major trading partner for India and account for about 10% of our economic growth. Bilateral trade between India and ASEAN last year was more than USD 40 billion and we had set for ourselves a target of USD 50 billion by 2010. The trade in goods agreement which we have signed with ASEAN focuses on tariff liberalization regime based on mutually agreed tariff lines balancing with interest of domestic industries. The agreement will come into force from January 01, 2010 and will give Indian exporters enhanced market access to this part of the world.