India cannot afford to remain dependent on low cost, low quality products: Piyush Goyal

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June 25, 2020 11:22 PM

"India cannot afford to remain dependent on low cost, low value, low quality products. So we are very keen to focus on certain areas where we have the competitive advantages," he said at a webinar organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. 

In sectors like oil and gas and medical devices, India and the US can do a lot of business, the minister said.

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said India is keen to focus on certain sectors where it has competitive advantage, emphasising that the country cannot afford to remain dependent on “low cost, low quality” products. With domestic skilled manpower, availability of certain raw materials, resources and minerals, India can achieve a good growth in certain sectors.

“India cannot afford to remain dependent on low cost, low value, low quality products. So we are very keen to focus on certain areas where we have the competitive advantages,” he said at a webinar organised by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. Citing example, he said in the steel sector India can expand significantly and boost exports.

In sectors like oil and gas and medical devices, India and the US can do a lot of business, the minister said.

Talking about foreign investment, Goyal said barring few sensitive areas, India permits FDI in almost all sectors under automatic route. “There are certain … sectors where we do have constraints and we will not be able to open up anytime soon. If it is related with multi-brand retail, insurance…these are sectors where there have been sensitivities and very serious concerns,” Goyal said adding India has to protect its security interests.

The media sector is another area where there are certain concerns, he added. “We are in MFN (most favoured nation)…, we can not have separate rules… and there are serious concerns with certain geographies. There will be collateral impact,” he added.

In April, India has made it mandatory for a company or an individual from a country that shares land border with India to invest in any sector here only after getting government approval. The decision was aimed at foreign investments from countries like China to curb “opportunistic takeovers or acquisitions” of domestic firms due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Further, he said that India is taking steps to simplify procedures and make it online to enhance transparency and improve investment environment. On special economic zones, he said: “We are seriously looking at how we can change from the earlier system of SEZs more to industrial clusters and in manufacturing zones so that we are well within the rules of global engagement”.

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