India will not negotiate any FTA on back foot: Goyal

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. (PTI file photo)

India will not negotiate any free trade agreement (FTA) on the "back foot" and will always ensure the protection of interest of people and industry, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to bite the bullet and because of that India decided to walk out from the mega free trade pact Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the concerns of India was not addressed, Goyal said.

"When we do FTAs...the trade deal with the US...we ensure that domestic interest and our industry is paramount. That is what will define the terms of engagement of India with the rest of the world.

"No more will India stand with weak knees, no more will India negotiate from the back foot. The country plays on the front foot," he said here at the ET (Economic Times) Awards 2019.

Talking about investments, he cautioned the e-commerce companies to follow the laws properly as millions of small traders are involved in the business in the country.

"We shall not allow, just in the garb of investment, or even large investment, anybody to bring in unfair trade practices to India, howsoever big or powerful the company may be," he said.

"You call us swadeshi, we are happy to carry that tag," he added.

The minister said that he is regularly getting complaints and "we have to address their concerns".

"I would urge all that please recognise e-commerce" laws in letter and spirit, he said.

Goyal cautioned the firms against giving huge price discounts, which are going to cut small retailers as "60 million small retailers in the country providing work to 120 million".

Further, he said the government has laid out a roadmap for an investment of Rs 100 lakh crore in the next five years, which would lift the economy.

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