As the negotiations between India and the UK on the proposed free trade agreement proceed smoothly, New Delhi will have to “wait and watch” the ongoing political developments in Britain, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal stated on Thursday.
Embattled British Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned as the Conservative Party leader, stating that she cannot fulfil her mandate last month. After an open revolt against her chaotic leadership on her 45th day in office, she ended her humiliating tenure at 10 Downing Street.
In an expedited leadership election to be conducted by next week, the 47-year-old outgoing prime minister will remain in charge until the governing Tory party elects her successor.
We must wait and see what happens, whether a quick leadership change occurs or the whole process takes place. So let us know who joins the government and what their views are. Afterwards, we will be able to formulate a strategy for dealing with the UK,” Goyal stated at the national export summit organized by the CII.
According to him, however, politicians and businesses across the board in the UK acknowledge that an FTA (free trade agreement) with India is “very” important.
As a result, I feel that whoever enters government will be eager to engage with us,” he added.
According to the minister, there should be fairness, equity, and balance in the trade pact.
He said that unless both parties are satisfied, there can be no deal.
As a result, we will have to wait and see. We may announce one or two more free trade agreements soon, but I believe our FTAs with the UK, Canada, and the EU are well on track,” Goyal said.
He was responding to a question regarding developments in the UK and its FTA negotiations with India. Moreover, he stated that the USD 2 trillion export target for goods and services by 2027 “looks challenging”, but “it is doable by 2030″.
If the situation becomes favourable to India and if the industry exerts a lot of effort, “I will be the happiest person if we can achieve it by 2027”, but sadly, due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which has caused several economic stresses worldwide — inflation, supply chain disruptions, energy issues — we have lost the time during Covid and we are losing the momentum.
By 2030, goods and services exports may reach USD 1 trillion if goods exports grow at a CAGR of 12 per cent and 18-19 per cent, respectively.
According to him, the ministry is finding minimal traction in many parts of the world to enter into mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on standards.
It appears that, at least in the developed world, there is a great deal of hesitation in accepting too many MRAs for whatever reason… maybe they need more time to build confidence in our ability to deliver those high-quality goods and services,” he said.
Secondly, he suggested that India should also place quality control orders on products they plan to supply to India, and then “we will have an equal footing, where you will give us an MRA, and we will give you one.”
According to him, reciprocity is the key to success.
The Indian industry, however, raises concerns over quality control orders (QCOs) and does not support the government in this regard.
“I would encourage all of you to reflect on this issue. Please let us know what industries you would like QCO in, so we can gain some leverage over the other countries and begin negotiations.
In some cases, non-tariff barriers are imposed by QCOs (of other countries). We have only 450 QCOs in the United States compared to 4,500 in the US. As a result, we are not interested in introducing high-quality standards,” said Goyal.