Trade talks can’t overtake national interest: Piyush Goyal

Economy


NEW DELHI: India said the withdrawal of exports incentives by the US is in a way a recognition of the country’s growing economic strength, but it is a unilateral move not in line with norms laid down by World Trade Organization.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said the US took a “unilateral position” in rolling back export incentives from India and that the government would not allow trade negotiations to overtake issues of national interest.

“I would like to state that US has taken a unilateral position. We believe that it is not exactly as per the norms of WTO and GATT, which have been mutually agreed and are multilateral trade agreements,” he said in Lok Sabha. Goyal’s statement assumes significance as it comes in at a time when US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is currently in New Delhi.

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India exported goods worth $6.3 billion to the US in 2018 under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme which it terminated from June 5.

“One thing is very clear. This government will never ever compromise on national security and national sovereignty and at no point of time will trade negotiations be allowed to overtake what is in the national interest and the interest of the people of India,” he said, adding that he had no information that the US was considering the withdrawal since 2016.

The minister added that if the US was considering withdrawing this from 2016, it is only a recognition of India’s growing strength as an economy.



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