Trade differences have been narrowing between India and the US, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (pictured) has said, hoping that the countries will be able to enter into a trade deal soon. “I hope to have an agreement sooner. Obviously narrowing (of difference) is happening.”
The commerce ministry is working on it and hope that the negotiations will get concluded sooner, she said.
Sitharaman is in Washington to attend the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. “I know the intensity with which the negotiations are going on and a few issues on which there could be some differences are being sorted out. I hope there will be an agreement sooner,” she said.
‘India still fastest-growing economy’
Sitharaman reiterated that India remains among the fastest-growing economies of the world and efforts are being made to make it grow faster. The IMF has projected a reduced growth rate for India, but the country’s economy is “still growing as the fastest”, she said.
Sitharaman said she is “certainly not risking a comparison” with China, even though the two countries growth rates have been projected at 6.1 per cent in a latest IMF report.
“The IMF (in its latest projections) reduces the growth (rate) for all the global economies. It reduces the growth for India too. But even otherwise, even with that India is still growing as the fastest growing economy," she said.
‘Recalling what went wrong necessary’
Targeting former prime minister Manmohan Singh for accusing the NDA government of always trying to put the blame on its rivals, she said that recalling when and what went wrong during a certain period is absolutely necessary.
Conceding that there were some “weaknesses” in his regime, Singh had on Thursday said the Modi government should stop blaming the UPA for every economic crisis, as five years were sufficient time to come up with solutions.
“I respect Dr Manmohan Singh for telling me not to do the blame game. But recalling when and what went wrong during a certain period is absolutely necessary to put it in context, now that I’m being charged that there’s no narrative at all about the economy,” Sitharaman said on Thursday.
The senior Congress leader’s comments at the press conference in Mumbai came after Sitharaman at an event at the Columbia University in New York held the Manmohan Singh-Raghuram Rajan combination responsible for subjecting public sector banks (PSBs) to their “worst phase”.
“I had to recall that. So, it’s not so much with the sense of wanting to put the blame on somebody,” the finance minister said.