India’s partner countries have gained more from our FTAs: Chanda Kochhar
Sounding a note of caution on free trade pacts, ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar on Wednesday said there should be “greater thinking” while signing FTAs as they have yielded more benefits to India’s partner countries. At the Board of Trade meeting here, she said India has made good progress around FTAs but “greater thinking” is required around those pacts. “If we just look at the performance. We were analysing that between 2005-12, the FTAs that we have signed with various countries, while our exports have grown but our imports from those countries have grown more. So, actually our partner countries have benefited more from us. So when we sign the FTAs we should see what are our competitive sectors like services and we can give them more weightage,” she said. India has so far implemented FTAs with countries like Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Asean. It is negotiating several such pacts with nations like the EU, Australia and New Zealand. Kochhar, who is member of the Board of Trade, also said that India needs to make up its mind about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a mega trade deal among 12 countries, including the US. “We need to protect our interests,” she said. Industry has raised concerns about the possible impact of TPP on India’s trade. Talking about overall exports, she said the entire world is slowing down both for exports and imports. India needs to make its exports more competitive amid slowing global demand and depreciating currencies, she said, adding, “I think we have to pick up some sectors where we can make India the global hub in the entire value”.