First, there have been a number of lessons learned from the experience of our previous free trade agreements. In 2018, a NITI Aayog note on free trade agreements highlighted India`s relentless and expanding trade deficits accumulated as a result of free trade agreements with ASEAN, Japan and Korea. It is important that the deficit has also increased for India`s dominant value-added sectors, due to a deterioration in the quality of India`s trade with its FTA partners. The EU is India`s largest trading partner with 11.1% of total Indian trade, on a par with the US and China (10.7%). We are confident that free trade agreements with the EU and the US will benefit India and talks will resume,“ said Gopal Krishna Agarwal, bharatiya Janata Party`s national spokesperson for economic affairs. „India is not opposed to trade agreements with other countries, although this now seems to be the popular idea, after leaving RCEP, we understand the need to remain integrated globally and regionally,“ Agarwal added. Apart from these agreements, bilateral trade negotiations are underway with Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Iran, Israel, the Eurasia Economic Union, Uruguay, Venezuela and Mauritius, led by Russia, the latter of which would offer a foot in Africa via the African Continental Free Trade Area. The following year, the government planned discussions with Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, the Southern African Customs Union (SaCU) and the United Kingdom. For the sector to grow and become globally competitive, integration into the global value chain is essential. However, this requires pragmatism in the choice of trading partners for the opening of domestic markets, in particular China, which is known for its unfair trading practices.
Ultimately, all trade deals are a game of „win some, lose some“ and a balanced outcome is what all trading partners should be looking for. „India should not waste time now. It must act quickly before other countries seal the deals,“ S.K. Saraf, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), told Indianarrative.com. .