Govt reviews impact of trade pacts on economy, employment
The government on Tuesday reviewed the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on the domestic economy and employment generation amid concerns that these pacts may be helping trading partners more than India.
New Delhi: The government on Tuesday reviewed the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on the domestic economy and employment generation amid concerns that these pacts may be helping trading partners more than India.
The meeting of various ministries to discuss the preliminary findings of a report on these pacts was chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
During the meeting, Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian gave a presentation on the working of FTAs.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who attended the meeting, said the review of FTAs is a continuous process and "this one was also" on those lines.
According to sources, in his presentation Subramanian highlighted the impact of FTAs on employment generation. It was also decided in the meeting to hold stakeholder consultations to assess the impact of these pacts on employment generation.
Industry representatives including exporters have time and again raised concerns that these agreements implemented by India with other nations has benefited more to its trading partners than the domestic industry.
India has implemented these agreements with several countries including Japan, Korea and Singapore as well as the Asean group. It is also negotiating similar pacts with several regions, including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
When asked whether there was any discussion related to devaluation of rupee to promote exports, Sitharaman said: "I have not said and I am not saying anything on devaluation".
"There was nothing discussed on it," she said.
Worried over continuous slowdown in exports, the Commerce Ministry is pressing for better exchange rate policy, alignment of freight rates with global standards and a liberalised visa regime to boost shipments.
As part of the strategy to boost both exports of goods and services in the long run, the ministry is working on the three important pillars -- exchange rate, visa regime and freight rates.
Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia and other senior officials attended the meeting.