Speaking at CII’s plenary session, Goyal said, “If the industry thinks it would get greater market access in the US, UK and Canada without opening the Indian market for businesses of those countries as well, then there is no future of the industry, then forget about FTAs and markets.”

However, Goyal also exhorted the domestic industry to become competitive and not seek protection for certain sectors in these agreements.

The Union Commerce and Industry Minister was speaking on ‘Synergy Between the Government and Businesses for Sustainable Growth’.

Giving an example, Goyal said, “If you think that I (industry) can export textile duty free in Europe and become competitive, but do not allow any thread or textile to come to India, do not open wines sector for them, do not open auto (sector)…If this will be your behaviour, then there is no future of industry, then forget about FTAs and markets.”

‘No FTA will hurt you’

“I can assure you that no FTA will hurt you. Each FTA will be finalised after holding discussions with you…In every product, every country cannot be competitive.

“Wherever our strengths are there, we need to exploit that and in some products, we also have to show generous heart, then only FTA can be done, otherwise not. So I will seek your support and cooperation in that,” Goyal added.

India is negotiating free trade pacts with other nations such as Australia, Canada and UAE. Under such agreements, two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate import/customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.

Goyal also suggested that industry chamber CII can take the lead in thecreation of a fund with 10,000 crore corpus to provide domestic startups early-stage funding, as foreign firms are buying out startups at cheaper rates.

“They should all…Tatas, Ambanis, Bajajs and Birlas, all of you should be pitching in. Even if you pitch with 100 crore, 200 crore, 500 crore each, the country’s startups will get a huge a support…”

“Please help in the creation of value for our startups, and you will get profit in that also…. even if one out of 10 companies does well…and I would go to the extent of saying that if 1 or 2 or 4 or 10 cases.. go bad, this much you can sacrifice for the country…I seek your apology if somebody did not like my words,” he said.

He added that the true synergy is that “we both should have equal concerns for our countrymen” and this is a joint responsibility of the government and industry.

Goyal urged industry to procure 25% of Covid vaccines

On coronavirus vaccination, Goyal urged the industry to procure 25% of Covid-19 vaccines and vaccinate people.

The industry had made “tall claims” about vaccinating employees, their family members, and villagers around their factories, but “I am waiting to see that synergy and I do urge all of you to reflect on the tall promises made and see what more you can do.”

Further, Goyal added that the industry should not look for ways to circumvent government policies like foreign direct investment norms.

“When I see Tata Sons that they are objecting for some consumer benefit laws or regulations that I am bringing in, then frankly it hurts…,” he said, adding “me, myself, my company, we need to move forward from that.”

Goyal also urged domestic firms to use made in India goods, even if they are a bit expensive, and show some willingness to support MSMEs and pay their dues timely.

“What is our commitment towards India, we need to introspect that,” the minister said, adding there is a need to increase synergy between industry chambers.

With agency inputs

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