Highlighting the importance of free trade agreements, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today said India must enter into such pacts to penetrate global markets and boost exports as the country cannot rely on domestic market alone to augment economic growth.
“I am a great believer in FTAs. No country in the world has been able to do without exports. India can’t grow on the back of its domestic market. India must learn the art of exports. Unless you don’t penetrate global markets, it will be very difficult for India to grow,” Kant said.
The government last month, reviewed the impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on the domestic economy and employment generation amid concerns that FTAs may be helping trading partners more than India. The meeting was attended by Kant, among others.
India has implemented FTAs with several countries including Japan, South Korea and Singapore as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). It is also negotiating similar pacts with several others, including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
“The World Trade Organisation is not moving forward and therefore, the world is doing bilateral agreements. We should move forward with bilateral agreements,” Kant said, adding that for exports to grow and for India to become a great exporting nation, it is important to move towards FTAs.
Kant, while addressing a meeting of the India-Japan Business Cooperation Committee here, said the Japanese companies “must adopt India as their home ground, must take much more risks and they will see results in the next 3-4 decades”.
“In the last 68 years, we have made India a very complex, a very complicated and a difficult place to do business. We need to make India extremely easy and simple place. There has to be predictability, consistency and clarity of policies,” he said.
Noting that the Indian story for the Japanese companies had just begun, Kant said, “A huge possibility and potential (exist) for them to move away from a country they are overexposed to and over-invested in — China. The future of Japanese companies is not in Japan because of very small demand, their future is not in China, their future is in India”.