Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said India will be able to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union by next year.
Speaking at an event organized by the IMC Chamber of Commerce, Goyal said the country has already sealed pacts with the UAE and Australia and is in negotiations with other countries or blocs including the EU, UK, Canada, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“By next year, we would be able to conclude an FTA with the EU,” Goyal said, adding that a delegation from Italy including its foreign minister is in New Delhi now with which he will be having deliberations.
Already, three rounds of negotiations have been held with the UK and there is a possibility of a fourth-round soon, Goyal said, adding that he will be meeting the representatives on May 26-27.
The FTAs will push growth in India and create more jobs as well, Goyal said, making it clear that the country is looking for fair, equitable, and win-win partnerships with other countries or blocs.
Pointing out that the country recorded $38 billion in exports in April, the highest for the month after the busy March when businesses are keen to seal sales before the financial year-end, Goyal said that a closer look at the numbers indicates that India is emerging as a manufacturing hub for high-class products.
This indicates that programs like the performance-linked incentive scheme and the infrastructure push are bearing the expected results, Goyal said.
Pointing to GST collections of over Rs 1.67 lakh crore in March, Goyal said it is very redeeming that the economic activity is back beyond the expectations of the analysts' community and added that the surge in purchasing managers' indices is also reflective of the same revival.
Goyal said the country could attract foreign direct investment of $82 billion in 2021, its highest ever because it has emerged as an isle of stability with virtues like rule of law, democracy, and stable policies which attract businesses.