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India's forex reserves comfortable for next 5-6 years: Piyush Goyal

Minister says many countries keen on fast-tracking FTA with India now

The FPIs, which saw the rupee appreciate against their home currencies, accounted for Rs 13.9 trillion in equity assets under custody

Shreya Nandi New Delhi

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Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said that India is in a ‘comfortable’ position for the next five-six years in its foreign exchange position.

“In the worst case, with whatever difficulties anybody may have, India is comfortable for the next five or six years, given (that) our forex reserves today will be be able to meet our foreign exchange requirements,” Goyal said at the annual general meeting of the industry lobby group Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

During the week-ending May 12, India’s forex reserves touched almost $600 billion.

Goyal further said many countries across the globe are keen on fast-tracking the free trade agreement (FTA) with India now. India is now not just talking but negotiating with Canada, European Free Trade Association (EFTA)--comprising four nations of Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein–United Kingdom, European Union over FTAs, an indication of increased importance of India in the global order.

“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 and will help us generate surpluses, help us keep a strong economy,” the minister said. However, FTAs are a two-way traffic. “I feel very sad when I am being told sometimes that I (industry) want access to the EU market, but please do not allow them to come into our market,” he added.

Goyal also said that the target of achieving $1 trillion export of goods and $1 trillion of services is modest and that the overall exports had been at $500 billion for almost a decade and reached $676 billion only last year despite the disruptions in the global economy.

The overall exports was $776 billion in FY23, with $450 billion merchandise exports and $326 billion services exports.

He further said that the increased export basket will help India increase surpluses and reduce deficits.

He added that businesses should look for reliable partners in the supply chain, focus on comparative advantage, acquire technology and work in the spirit of collaboration.

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First Published: May 24 2023 | 5:06 PM IST

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