India’s forex reserves comfortable for next 5-6 years, FTAs to generate surplus: Piyush Goyal

2023-05-24 08:09:37

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said that India’s free trade agreements (FTA) will help generate surpluses and that the country is “comfortable” for the next five-six years in its foreign exchange position.

On the aim to achieve $1 trillion each of goods and services exports by 2030, Goyal said: “I have no doubt we are going to achieve it… our import basket largely gets affected by oil that will have its own trajectory possibly a lowering trajectory or a downward trend in the years to come Whereas our export basket has all the things that the world desires.”

India’s overall exports, including both goods and services, increased 13.84% to $770 billion in FY23 as against $676 billion in FY22. The trade deficit was a record $266.78 billion in the year.

Goyal was addressing the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“So we will be an economy which will be reporting surpluses in the years to come. And these free trade agreements will only accelerate that process will help us generate surpluses, help us keep a strong economy,” he said.

Goyal said that everybody wants India to fast track an agreement.

“The free trade part is separate. They want an FTA which is fast track agreement,” he said.India is negotiating trade pacts with the UK, Canada, European Union and the EFTA which comprises Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland.

Emphasising that FTAs are a two way traffic, he said: “I feel very sad when sometimes I’m told we want access in the European market. But please don’t allow them to come into our mind”.

On India’s foreign exchange situation, the minister said: “In the worst case, with whatever difficulties anybody may have, India is comfortable for the next five or six years given our forex reserves today to be able to meet our foreign exchange requirements.”

He also asked if the amount of foreign exchange reserves should be based on the number of months import, or “we should be looking at our trade deficit or our overall current account deficit and valuing our reserves juxtaposing it to what we will need in the future”.

Noting that there was a sharp spike in inflation last year because of the Ukraine crisis, Goyal said India is now back on track in a short period of time, much beyond what many had expected and that for the first time in many years business persons are seeing interest rates in other countries and developed countries that are almost at par with Indian interest rates.

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