Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that the possibility of a trade agreement between India and the United States is not being considered at the moment, reported The Hindu.
In such a trade deal, partners cut down on tariff-related hurdles on a specific number of goods in order to boost trading.
“The US, as of now, has kind of indicated that they are not looking for new trade agreements, but we will look at working with them on market access issues on both sides,” Goyal said during an event with exporters.
The minister added that even the resolution of the problems related to a trade pact would boost outbound trade to the United States.
Goyal noted that matters such as non-tariff barriers, reaching mutually recognised agreements and aligning on better quality of international standards would lead to a spike in trade between the United States and India.
Goyal also specified the Centre’s priority list of countries with which it was going to forge a free trade agreement.
“Australia is first on the list, United Kingdom, then the United Arab Emirates, and if the UAE happens, the pact with GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] will also be expedited,” he said. “We have already started the dialogue with the UAE and one more country from the Middle East.”
So far, Australia has shown the “highest level of engagement”, Goyal said, according to Business Standard, adding that the country has displayed a lot of interest in early harvest agreement. This early harvest deal is considered a precursor to a free trade deal.
He also noted that discussions with the United Kingdom was “progressing well”.
The minister also said that discussions with the Canadian government had been impacted due to the Covid-19 crisis. Goyal added that the talks were likely to resume after the elections in Canada.
“We also have to open our markets to others if we are wanting a larger pie in their markets,” he said, according to The Hindu. “Therefore, my appeal to all of you is to also identify areas where we have confidence that we can withstand competition.”