India was seeing real challenge at World Trade Organsation and in the global trading system itself, union minister Suresh Prabhu said here today.
In March, the commerce and industries minister had appealed to WTO members to identify common ground for strengthening the multi-lateral trade body amid challenges being faced by it following the deadlock at the Buenos Aires Ministerial.
Prabhu had said the meeting was happening at a time when WTO is facing multiple challenges including a deadlock which happened at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“For the first time, the country is seeing a real challenge at WTO and the global trading system itself. Because, first time, countries are putting roadblocks and (it) is going to be real, real issue,” he said addressing industrialists at an event organised by FIEO.
Prabhu said on the Centre’s part it was trying to be friendly with all the countries.
“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 (Zhong Shan)to India and signed mmany agreements and decided not only to reduce trade deficit but (bring in) balance in trade”, he said.
The government was also talking with the European Union on the WTO issue as it was a “big market place”, he said.
“We are talking to EU about these issues. Japan, Korea, ASEAN countries. I had invited them and we decided to increase the trade volume,” he said.
On the production of agriculture in India, he said, India’s total agriculture production stood at 285 million tonnes while horticulture was at 300 million tonnes last year.
“This year, hoping the monsoon is good, probably together our agriculture and horticulture will be more than 620 million tonnes…” he said.
Prabhu said in order to boost agriculture exports, the government was planning to roll out an “agriculture export policy.”
Referring to the large number of offices set up by JETRO (Japan External Trade Organisation) to boost exports by Japan in various countries, Prabhu said, India would also set up export promotion offices in other countries that would have integration with global economy.
“The export promotion offices would be like the Indian missions which take up diplomatic work. But, these offices are devoted to India’s exports. To build brand India,” he said.
Prabhu appealed to the industrialists present at the venue not to depend much on the government.
“I only wish and hope, don’t expect everything from the government. Government is doing more than what you want. Government can provide umbrella support. But when it comes to business to business, that can be done only you businessmen,” he said.
The Commerce Minister, earlier in the day, called on Chief Minister K Palaniswami and referring to his brief interaction with him, said, “I discussed with the chief minister to start a second big airport for Chennai on a few hundred acres of land.”
“So many towns which are still not connected we aretrying to find out how can we provide regional connectivity. So, we are working on a comprehensive strategy and for that connectivity is a very important thing,” he said.
“I had also discussed with the Chief Minister to roll out a start-up policy for Tamil Nadu. This start-up policy will be a good thing. Because, start up can create new jobs..,” he said.