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Indian economy is in bad shape in terms of trade networks: Claude Smadja

Interview with president, Smadja & Smadja

Indivjal Dhasmana 

Claude Smadja

Claude Smadja, president of a strategic advisory firm, Smadja & Smadja, tells Indivjal Dhasmana he does not see the possibility of India signing free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union anytime soon. Edited excerpts:

You are of the view that regional trade pacts will shape the global trade picture. How do you see India tapping these agreements?

India has a very severe problem because it is not integrated into any significant trade agreement in the world. Today, your economy is in bad shape in terms of trade networks.

What about the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) that is being talked of in the World Trade Organization? Don't you think India is very much part of that?

TFA has some element of importance but it is not what will alter the global trade picture. What is shaping the global trade picture is the flourishing of bilateral and regional trade pacts. The era of global trade pacts like the Uruguay round is over. India will be in a very bad situation if it does not manage to create its economic and trade networks.

How do you see India's talks on a FTA with the European Union?

I think it has a long way to go. I do not see it happening in two to five years.

The two big alliances — Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — are being talked of that will shape global trade picture. How do you see them?
From the United States point of view, TPP is more of a geo-political offensive than economic and trade offensive because US already has seven or eight trade pacts. For countries like Japan, Mexico, it has more of trade and economic dimensions. The Obama administration is in a struggle to get Trade Promotion Authority to be able to finalise TPP. So, the TTIP being negotiated with Europe, has no possibility at this stage to be truely on the agenda. This is why, we need to consider these two trade pacts in a very different category than truly operational trade agreement like Pacific Alliance in Latin America, or what China, Japan and Korea are trying to negotiate in terms of trade agreement

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First Published: Fri, March 27 2015. 00:42 IST