Strategic ties will define economic engagement in future, says Piyush Goyal.

Strategic relationships will drive engagement in the economic future: being an “ally, a trusted friend or a partner” will become increasingly important in driving investment from one country to another; and India’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) will help increase comfort levels for companies when they decide on their investments, commerce and industries minister Piyush Goyal has said.

In an apparent reference to China, the minister said: “Countries which have become members believe in free trade, transparent government, rules-based business and trading arrangements. That is what truly differentiates IPEF and its member countries from the rest of the countries in the region.”

Reiterating the reasons for India’s decision not to join the trade pillar of IPEF for now, Goyal said many issues under negotiation were also a part of bilateral negotiations between India and the United States and that he did not anticipate a major problem joining the trade pillar in the future. “I don’t see any great difficulty going forward and becoming a part of the trade pillar also. We would like to take domestic sensitivities into consideration before we take a decision.”

Goyal, soon after the conclusion of the first IPEF in-person ministerial in Los Angeles, told HT that the understanding that no country had become developed without expanding international economic engagement and trade had driven the recent momentum on free trade agreements and this would continue. He rejected the perception that India had turned protectionist, and said: “ We want to be self-sufficient wherever we can, but wherever we depend on imported goods, we want that to be through our partners who will not let us down at the time of need.”

Amid concerns over India’s recent trade figures, Goyal attributed rising imports to a mix of higher prices and enhanced economic activity within India and pointed to rising service exports. “At an aggregate, we will not be very bad off in terms of the trade deficit.”

Source- Hindustan Times.

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