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Chief Economic Advisor favours recast of FTAs to boost exports

Date 15-Jun-2016
Subject Chief Economic Advisor favours recast of FTAs to boost exports

NEW DELHI: A panel headed by Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian could suggest that India renegotiates its free trade agreements because these pacts appear to have boosted imports more than exports. Officials said the panel is expected to shortly finalise its recommendations, which will come in handy as India negotiates the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that will have China as a member.

The Country needs to have a more focused approach to maximise advantages of free trade agreements or FTAs, another official said.

Subramanian, a former IMF economist who was associated with the multilateral General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was tasked with reviewing India's overall trade engagement, with a special focus on FTAs. The panel's inputs will be crucial when some of the agreements come up for review, officials said, as India is looking to regain some lost ground.

Subramanian had alluded to FTAs in the Economic Survey tabled in Parliament ahead of the budget this year and highlighted their impact on the Country's trade. "In the current context of slowing demand and excess capacity with threats of circumvention of trade rules, progress on FTAs, if pursued, must be combined with strengthening India's ability to respond with WTO-consistent measures such as anti-dumping and conventional duties and safeguard measures," the Survey had said while emphasising that the Country prepare for its engagement with the world.

The Revenue Department had also pointed out that the rules of origin framework allowed third Country imports without substantial value addition under the FTAs.

The Department of Economic Affairs had separately asked the Indian Institute of Management to study the impact of FTAs after the May 2013 currency crisis highlighted the Country's vulnerability on account of widened current account deficit.

Source: -

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