Free trade agreements (FTAs) have not served India well in building capacity, according to external affairs minister (EAM) Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who recently said though FTAs are considered a bit of a mantra and as a panacea, facts prove otherwise. Non-FTA-centric ways to engage the world like improving trade facilitation mechanisms and India’s place in the global value chain exist, he said.
“Our trade deficit with RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership] countries has doubled in 15 years. If you look at the state of the economy and manufacturing in the country you will not be able to look me in the eye and say these FTA’s have served me well”, he said.
Jaishankar was speaking at the Hero Mindmine summit organised in partnership with CNBC-TV18.
He said India has to look out for changes in the global economy, which is moving towards greater protectionism, according to Indian media reports.
“If we are to grow by leveraging the international situation, then you got to exploit the opportunities out there. Either you’re in the game or you’re not in the game. The era of great caution and an era of much greater dependence on multilateralism is behind us”, he added.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)