Free trade agreement with EU may take longer to conclude: Piyush Goyal


Mumbai, feb 24: Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) will take longer as negotiations with the 27-country bloc will be prolonged.
Active negotiations for the FTAs (free trade agreements) are ongoing with two-three countries and the EU, Goyal said speaking at the Technotex event here organised by industry lobby Ficci.
He said there will soon be some "good news", the pact with the EU may take longer. "EU will take a longer time, because there are 27 countries which have to come on the same page," the minister said. Last year, India signed FTAs with Australia and United Arab Emirates. Reports had suggested that the country is in talks with other countries including the United Kingdom, Israel and Canada.
Goyal said the government is mulling to come out with a production linked incentive scheme for the finished goods sector, but did not elaborate on the same.
He said the government has received applications for only Rs 250 crore for research and development purposes in textiles, despite allocating Rs 1,400 crore fund for the same under the technical textiles research mission, and urged the industry to up its efforts. The minister said there is tremendous potential in the technical or man-made textiles business, and asked the industry to increase its investments, saying the Indian market will grow faster than the current 10-12 per cent. The USD 22-billion industry should conservatively aim to be a USD 125 billion in size by 2047, Goyal said, asking participants to focus more on exports as well.
Stating that the industry has neglected skilling in the last few years, Goyal exhorted the technical textile players to help train 2 lakh people under two dedicated schemes launched by the government. While asking the industry to focus on sustainability and circular economy, Goyal also took potshots at the Opposition, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wearing of a jacket made of recycled plastic bottles is a "big contrast" to wearing designer Louis Vuitton's scarfs.
The Union minister also said that many in the world have got concerned while witnessing the high growth in India, and are attempting to "derail" the story.

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