Affairs at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the global trading system have been witnessing challenges, with countries putting roadblocks to safeguard their respective interests, commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday. The government, however, is trying to be friendly with all the countries, he added. “For the first time, the country is seeing a real challenge at WTO and the global trading system itself. Countries are putting roadblocks (to trade) and it is going to be a real issue,” Prabhu told industrialists at an Fieo event.
“We are not enemies as far as trade is concerned. We want to make friendship. With China, we had huge trade deficit. I invited the Chinese commerce minister to India, signed many agreements and decided not only to reduce trade deficit, but also to bring in balance in trade.” The government was also talking with the European Union on the WTO issue, as it was a big marketplace. “We are talking to the EU as well as Japan, Korea and Asean countries about these issues. I had invited them and we decided to increase the trade volume,” he said.
Appealing to industrialists not to depend much on the government, he said: “I only wish and hope, don’t expect everything from the government. The government is doing more than what you want. The government can provide umbrella support. But when it comes to business to business, that can be done only by you.” Earlier, inaugurating ACMEE 2018, the 13th international machine tools exhibition, Prabhu said Tamil Nadu is one of few states which provides well-developed infrastructure for industries.