Rudy against emergence of world trading blocs

New Delhi, January 21: | Updated: Jan 22 2002, 05:30am hrs
Minister of state for commerce and industry Rajiv Pratap Rudy has warned against the emergence of powerful world trading blocs, which he feels has weakened the bargaining capacity of Third World countries.

He was inaugurating a seminar on ‘India’s economy in the 21st century - Management perspective,’ organised by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) here. He said the stance adopted by the industrialised countries in the WTO negotiations on raising issues such as environment, child labour, human rights, etc, which were extraneous to the international trade, had further vitiated the world trading conditions.

Mr Rudy said the developing countries, particularly those which had not been able to adapt themselves to the fast changes ushered in by the era of liberalisation and globalisation, had been particularly vulnerable to the current developments. In this context, management institutions had a very important role to play in providing inputs to tide over the situation, he added. IIFT director-general K Dharamarajan presented the theme address of the seminar.

The minister emphasised that India is in a more advantageous position vis-a-vis many other developing countries in the context of its recognised advantages such as skilled and abundant manpower, rich and varied natural resources and its cost effective production operations.

He dwelt on the changes the world economy had undergone in the recent past and underlined the fact that India’s political stability and its democratic traditions had brought in many foreign investors in the country.

Comparing India’s position with China, Mr Rudy said India’s poor state of infrastructure had been a major stumbling block in attracting more foreign direct investment into the country. “With the total dismantling of the non-tariff barriers by the developed countries in the next few years and China’s entry into the WTO, the situation for India could only turn ominous unless immediate steps were initiated at all concerned levels,” he stated.

He said the recent policies had changed the government’s role from a regulator to that of facilitator and this was amply demonstrated in the export and import and investment policies.

Speaking on the role of the corporate sector, the minister said it devolved on the industry to formulate pro-active and dynamic strategies to survive in an ever-changing international trade environment. He said the academic institutions had a significant role in creating young business managers to develop a global mindset.