India could be relied upon to provide a multitude of investment and manufacturing opportunities to the world in the near future. This was stated by Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Railways, Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Government of India at a Special Plenary with Trade Ministers of the Indo-Pacific Region during the Indo-Pacific Business Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Economic Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The Minister said that Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Schemes worth $26 billion covering 13 sectors have been announced to create and nurture global manufacturing champions. He invited companies from the Indo-Pacific region to utilize these incentives and invest in India.
He said that India endorses the concept of working towards ensuring transparent, trustworthy, dependable & reliable supply chains. He highlighted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative launched in Sept 2020 and stated that it was a firm step towards building resilient supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region.
According to the Minister, there was a need to develop a roadmap for shared regional prosperity. Sectors such as clean-tech, tourism, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, start-ups, life sciences, and education could hold the key to greater economic cooperation. These will be made easier with the new PLI schemes, a single window clearance system, and India, Japan and Australia’s desire to extend their Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) to more countries.
The Minister pointed out that the plethora of trade agreements in Indo-Pacific has led to a decline in tariff rates however Non-Tariff Measures have become a major trade barrier in the region. He was of the view that trade facilitation can ease cross-border movement of goods.
In terms of sustainability, the Minister stated that India has not only met its nationally determined contribution to mitigate carbon emissions, but has actually exceeded the target. India had introduced the concept of “Climate Justice &Sustainable Lifestyle” to the world and now India is showing the world how it is done.
H E Ms Betty C. Maina, EGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development, Republic of Kenya, observed that India shares Africa’s vision for inclusive growth and sustainable development. This, in her view, has become even more relevant in these challenging times. As the African continent continues its economic transformation and urbanization and the middle class continues to grow, it provides a huge market for food and services which India would be in a unique position to cater to, she added.
HE Mr Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Republic of Fiji raised the concern about regional trade arrangements excluding small island states like Fiji. The Minister acknowledged that the Indo-Pacific Forum has the potential to form a formal trade agreement that will provide an equal footing to smaller nations.
H E Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Minister in charge of Talent Attraction and Retention, Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates highlighted the scope for investments in renewable energy, healthcare, AI, biotechnology, hospitality, and infrastructure between the countries of the region. The UAE is keen to expand cooperation in the Indo Pacific in these areas.
H E Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, Minister of Trade, Government of Sri Lanka stated that the Indo Pacific region is only meeting half of what is needed on an annual basis for infrastructure investments to maintain growth. Therefore, the strategic capability and economic future of the region will be defined by its capacity to build on “blue economy”, regional economic integration, and improving connectivity to promote regional trade.
Mr. Sung-roh Yoon, Co-chairperson of the Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Republic of Korea stated that cooperation between India and Korea will contribute to the overall growth of both countries as well as the overall Indo Pacific region. The Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution will spare no effort to foster cooperation between companies of the two countries and help Korean companies enter the Indian market . In particular, there is a lot of interest in strengthening the partnership in regards to 5G technology.
Mr. T. V. Narendran, President, CII and CEO & Managing Director, Tata Steel Limited elaborated that improvement in infrastructure and connectivity would also lead to lower trade transportation costs. Additionally, services trade agreements should be considered to liberalize domestic regulations and build capacity on e-commerce, IT enabled services and Artificial Intelligence.
Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confedaration of Indian Industry said that the Indo-Pacific region is the new economic centre of gravity in the globalized world. This free, open and rules-based concept of the Indo-Pacific is likely to scale up regional development and economic growth of member nations in the post-COVID era.
7 July 2021