Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba and secretaries of about three dozen departments on Thursday attended a session on Openness to Trade: Economic and Policy Considerations, conducted by former Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, who stressed the importance of export-led growth and the need for revisiting the strategy on import substitution.
It was part of the commerce ministry’s initiative, at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to “create better awareness at senior levels in government about the importance of trade and the role played by exports in accelerating growth”.
The move comes at a time when India has signed two trade deals (one each with the UAE and Australia) in quick succession and is engaged in negotiations with advanced economies like the UK, the EU and Canada for free trade agreements.
Panagariya also focussed on factors influencing India’s export competitiveness, and the role of FTAs in trade liberalisation. He also highlighted the way forward for India when negotiating FTAs and their role in the global economy.