Free trade pacts by this fiscal

The Commerce Secretary, Dr Rahul Khullar, on Thursday said that free trade agreements with Europe, Canada and New Zealand are likely to be through by the end of this fiscal. Preferred trade agreements with Colombia and some other countries in that region are also being worked out, he said.

Reiterating the need to diversify into new markets to counter global uncertainty in traditional markets such as the European Union, Japan and the US, Dr Khullar said, “We hope to put in place FTAs by the end of this fiscal.”

The Commerce Secretary was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“We are looking at preferential trade agreements or FTAs with Colombia and some other countries in the region,” he said.

Exchange rates, he added, were likely to remain volatile.

DEPB AND INFLATION

According to Dr Khullar, the Ministry was also planning to put in place a package for exports within the next three weeks. The package is likely to come in place of the DEPB scheme.

Speaking on inflation, he said that the country is witnessing a high interest cycle and the rate might see some further peaking. Food price inflation was also be a matter of concern.

“Both interest rates and inflation, however, are likely to come down in the next 12 to 15 months,” Dr Khullar said.

 

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