ANDALIB AKHTER / NEW DELHI

Recent Trade Agreements signed with UAE and Australia were very well received and did not elicit a single negative response from any sector, said Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal while delivering the keynote address at the 51st National Export Awards of Engineering Export Promotion Council of India in New Delhi recently.

Referring to the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) signed with Australia, Goyal said that it was the first agreement signed with a developed country after a decade. He also highlighted that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed with UAE was the fastest ever negotiated bilateral FTA globally. FTA negotiations are going on with UK, Canada, EU, Israel etc. and expected to start with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) soon, he added.
He assured that FTA negotiations were no longer being carried out in silos but were being done with extensive consultations with stakeholders.
Goyal said that our export community had made India proud with stellar achievement in exports.
Pointing out that exports have been the backbone of India’s economy, the Minister said that it was crucial to honour our exporters and recognise their contribution in nation building.
He added that the award function couldn’t have comes at a better time when India is celebrating its enviable exports performance. He congratulated all the award winners and applauded their excellence in entrepreneurship,hard work, planning and management skills.
Goyal said that Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) India had done phenomenal work and was a model Export Promotion Council. He appreciated EEPC India for consistently working with industry in capacity building including technology upgradation, quality, certifications, besides exports promotion.
The Minister urged exporters to adopt an uncompromising stance when it comes to ensuring quality. He said that, as a nation, we must focus on quality and productivity and decide that we would be second to none in the world when it comes to quality and insist upon and demand good quality every single time. Goyal said that we should not make products of two different qualities in the country. Quality standards must be unambiguous, uniform and strict. We must not let quality culture weaken in the country, he cautioned.
The Minister said that export targets were not set at the top but was set in consultation with all stakeholders including Export Promotion Councils.
He said that the government’s role is to facilitate trade and not create hurdles. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi is insistent on ensuring Ease of Doing Business, reduction in compliance burden, decriminalization etc, thereby creating a conducive environment for businesses to grow and prosper, he added. PM GatiShakti, is bringing about a culture of the whole of the government approach, the Minister also said.
The world now wants to engage with a trusted partner like India, the Minister said and added that India had sent sizeable delegations consisting of EPCs and MSMEs to UAE and Australia to strengthen economic partnerships, thus building business to business relationships, helping develop markets for labor intensive sectors.The Minister said that Indian Missions across the world have been instructed to strive to promote trade, tourism, technology adoption etc.
Piyush Goyal said that India had the potential to achieve exports of USD 1 trillion by 2030. He called for building stronger partnerships with like minded nations all over the world, especially nations in the African Union.
The Minister said that we must reform our laws, including labor laws and strive to work within the framework of these contemporary and modern laws.
It may be noted that India’s goods exports have crossed USD 419 billion- highest ever and services exports have also been estimated to touch USD 250 billion. The previous highest value of USD 213 billion was achieved in 2019-20, the Minister pointed out.
It may also be noted that Engineering Goods Export account for more than 25% in India’s USD 400 billion plus exports.For the first time, engineering exports had touched approx USD 10 billion in a month (Mar’22 ). The sector had shown tremendous resilience in the pandemic and had recovered quite remarkably since then, recording a 45 % Year on year growth in 2021-22 viz-a-viz 2020-21, touching approximately USD 111 billion, the Minister noted.
Goyal cautioned that while the above achievements were indeed celebratory for the whole country, we should leave no scope of complacency.
This must be used as a step on the ladder, to reach even loftier landmarks, he said.
111 exporters in 34 product groups bag EEPC India National Award 2018-19 across 7 categories. BHEL, NALCO, HAL, TATA Motors, RINL JSW Steel, Toshiba, Toyota Kirloskar, Bharat Forge and Bajaj Auto were among the winners.