Union secretary of commerce BVR Subrahmanyam on Friday said India is in a sweet spot as far as prospects for trade and economic growth is concerned.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18 at the Standard Chartered Leadership Collective, Subrahmanyam said, “It couldn’t have been a more opportune time as far as the world economy is concerned—our prospects for trade, for economic growth, etc, are concerned. We are in a fantastic position. So it is for us to grab the opportunity. If we miss it, it will be only ourselves to blame. These opportunities come once in a generation or in 20-25 years”, he said.
He said India is being looked at as a potential economic powerhouse with multi-trillion dollar economy in the coming decade.
“The pandemic has affected the world for two years. There has been a mess up of the supply chains, global value chains and companies are having an active China+1 policy. So there is a great deal of interest in looking at India as the only country of a similar size and scale as China where you can invest and where you can have capacities which can match China. Also from a geopolitical point of view India has become very interesting as we are a member of Quad – India, Australia, Japan and US, we are also member of the new Quad – India, UAE, Israel and US,” he said.
He added that the wheat export ban was linked to food security concerns as India had a bad crop year. He said government is not looking at any ban of export of rice.
“India is not a major player in wheat trade. Last year we exported 7 million tonnes ... not even 5 percent of world trade. However India is dominant in rice. 45 percent of global non-basmati rice is Indian. So we are not looking at any rice export ban.”
According to Subrahmanyam, India has had a reset and rethink on its approach to free trade agreements. Subrahmanyam added that he expects FTA negotiations with UK, Canada and EU to conclude soon.
“There has been a reset and rethink in terms of how we approach free trade agreements (FTAs). Post RCEP we have thought through in great detail and we felt that India is standing in splendid isolation. The world is moving into all kind of bilateral and regional arrangements and we are not part of any. We will go for FTAs with economies which are complementary to ours. We have concluded one FTA with UAE in 90 days, Australian FTA was done very rapidly, third FTA we are most likely to conclude is with UK. By the end of the year we are going to sign something probably with Canada. EU FTA negotiations we will be re-launching it and we hope to conclude it by middle of next year,” he said.
Watch video for entire discussion.