Union Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said India hopes to reach an interim trade deal with the UAE in the next two to three months and a full-fledged deal thereafter.

Speaking to India Today TV on the sidelines of Expo 2020 Dubai, Piyush Goyal spoke about India’s plans to exploit great investment opportunities at Expo and highlighted how India is in the process of become a trustworthy economy in the world.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

[Q] In the movie Mission Impossible-Ghost Protocol, Tom Cruise swung across the floors of one of the tallest buildings in the world, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Is his job more difficult?

Tom Cruise’s job was difficult. We are working with the strength provided by the Indian people. India has the confidence of the world. We have talent. We have startups running [into] unicorns. We have skilled labor schools. India is blessed and emerges on the technological map on the basis of talent and good management systems. On this basis, we engage with the world on an equal footing with confidence and commitment.

[Q] Is India sending a signal to Dubai – that there is an opportunity and India reform for it?

Our signal is that it is a nation open to business. It is a nation that provided opportunities. We present the India of tomorrow.

READ ALSO : Dubai Expo 2020: PM Modi invites investors to ‘the land of opportunity’ in India

[Q] What changed? What created the advantage for India?

PM Modi led the way. We have handled the pandemic better than most. A lot of meticulous planning started in February 2020. Things like oxygen, medications, intensive care beds, etc. A nation [that was] not producing a single PPE is today the second manufacturer in a short time.

[Q] Have the government been enthusiastic about the decline in Covid-19 cases and the rise in vaccinations?

Certainly. We believe that the Sero surveys show our ability to better manage the situation. With the exception of some concerns over Kerala, most parts of the country have weathered the impact of the second wave. The Indians have adapted to new working methods. Even the industry is more careful about the welfare of workers.

[Q] How is India taking its exports to the next level?

We are targeting a historic high in exports despite the first three months affected by Covid-19 and the rains. And the first half is also a relatively slow period. But we exceeded expectations.

Despite container shortages, increasing shipping rates, our exporters have made us proud. We are addressing new markets. We are developing the products and services for our shipping cart outside of India. Throughout Covid-19, we have not let down any international buyers or players.

[Q] There has been a lot of fine-tuning of the laws and rules, but it is felt that despite the increase in exports, India’s basket needs to be seriously changed to include electronics, technology, in a market of $ 90 trillion while India’s share is less than 1%.

You would have noticed that PM Modi has focused on structural changes in recent years. Through the production incentive program (PLI), for example, we try to promote technical textiles and synthetic fibers.

READ ALSO : India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to showcase talent, commerce, tradition, tourism and technology

Traditionally, Indian textiles have focused only on cotton, while cotton accounts for only a third of international trade. The current PLI aims to position us in the technical textiles and synthetic fibers segment and to increase our share in the world. Similar programs are in place for electronics, semiconductors and others.

We examine the basic building blocks of an energy economy. We are trying to strengthen the economy, the status of business people, and the world is looking for a trusted partner. Moreover, they are attracted by the huge market opportunity that India offers.

For them, India is a good quality manufacturing base or service provider. It’s a win-win situation for the world.

[Q] You had a meeting with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for more investments.

I had a wonderful [talk] with the government here. We had high-level discussions through a working group.

A free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates is obvious. During the visit to Delhi of the UAE Minister of Trade and Commerce, Dr Thani, we have already launched negations. We hope to have an interim agreement in the next two or three months and a full-fledged agreement after that.

At the same time, the UAE has committed $ 75 billion in investments to India in different sectors.

[Q] China lost ground in the large clothing sector, but it turned out to be a gain for Bangladesh and Taiwan.

Our basket needed to be modulated for the demands of the rest of the world. We are doing it now. We have removed some anti-dumping duties and returned all duties collected on inputs through the State and Central Levies and Taxes Refund System (RoSCTL). We have ensured an adequate flow of credit and an insurance program has been announced.

Bangladesh is one of the least developed countries. Their exports are in the zero duty category. Bangladesh has exited the old quota regime when there are quotas. The Indians ran out of quota. Most Indian entrepreneurs have set up factories in Bangladesh to use that country’s quota to take advantage of zero duty and this could go on for a few more years.

[Q] And Vietnam?

Vietnam has a number of FTAs, for example with the EU. Based on them, they have an advantage over India. We are working on FTAs ​​with the EU, UK, Australia, UAE and potentially Canada in the future.

Our efforts are focused on industry, especially clothing, leather, footwear or processed food products, most of which belong to MSMEs and agriculture-related sectors, which have growth potential.

[Q] What about the easing of border routes for trade – especially China?

There is no proposal at the moment.

[Q] Speaking of divestment, what about the shipping company and the obtained company?

These are all businesses that should have grown ten times or fifty times now. But over time, there are limits to government processes. The government should abandon the management of companies and leave it to private actors who can provide a greater degree of efficiency, modern technology, pools of capital. The government should play the role of facilitator.

[Q] What about trade with Afghanistan?

I am not involved in the discussions on Afghanistan.

[Q] And the Ecom rules? It is an insufficiently exploited market.

We have received valuable feedback. We evaluate it. I have had discussions with several important players in Ecom, with consumer organizations and small distribution organizations. We try to strike a balanced balance so that everyone is doing well.

[Q] What about the issue of the stock-based model of Indian entities like Reliance and Tata on the one hand, and Amazon’s electronic market models, etc.

We try to achieve a fair and just balance.

[Q] There are claims that Amazon was paying large amounts as legal business fees that could be bribes that harm small traders.

There are some issues that are [being] reviewed by different departments. I’m sure the departments involved will look at this. But we don’t need to sensationalize them. We need to look at the facts in a sober way.

READ ALSO : Unlimited opportunities, huge investments: India bets big as Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off

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