India would be happy to discuss trade pact with US: Commerce minister
San Francisco: India would be “happy and willing” to negotiate a trade pact with the US, provided America decides to look for a new free trade partner, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said here.
He said the US administration, as a policy, is not looking at a free trade agreement (FTA) with any new partner.
“Should they change their mind, India would be happy and willing to discuss. Without that also, we are engaged in attracting investment, technology, trade between the two countries,” the minister told reporters here.
During the Trump administration, India and the US had discussed a mini-trade deal to boost economic ties.
Meanwhile, addressing the US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), Goyal said talks for a trade deal are progressing with Canada.
“Canada (Minister of International Trade Mary Ng) and I are very confident that we would be done with our early progress trade agreement by December,” he said.
On the proposed India-Israel agreement, the minister said: “I still do not think, we have got a good enough deal or a proposition that is attractive because of small population size and their unwillingness to open up on services…”.
With the European Union also, Goyal said, negotiations are going on.
“There are 27 countries (in the EU bloc), so it will take longer…India is opening up discussions on never-before subjects like gender, environment, SMEs, labour, and anti-corruption laws.
“I am sharing this with you to just tickle and excite your imagination (so that) the American government (can) have a rethink on their new FTA policy. So that they do not miss the bus,” he added.
India is negotiating all these trade pacts to boost the country’s exports and create jobs in the domestic market. It is aiming to take exports of goods and services to USD 2 trillion by 2030.
When asked about the minister’s deliberations with private equity funds and venture capital funds here, he said there is a lot of interest in India.
“One of the points raised by one of the companies looking to expand investments into India was direct selling rules in the consumer protection Act. So, I have assured him (that), very quickly I will look at that,” Goyal, who also holds a consumer affairs portfolio, said.
“We will try to resolve that very soon,” he said, adding there was a lot of interest about knowing the potential location for the semiconductor industry in India.
The Union Minister is on a visit to San Francisco and Los Angeles from September 5-10 to attend the India-US Strategic Partnership Forum conference and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Ministerial meeting.
Goyal also paid floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi here and visited Gadar Memorial Hall.