He said India has received highest ever FDI in the Covid-impacted 2020, in contrast with a shrinkage in investment inflows globally.
In 2020-21, FDI into the country grew by 19 per cent to USD 59.63 billion. Total FDI, including equity, re-invested earnings and capital, rose 10 per cent to USD 81.72 billion during 2020-21 as against USD 74.39 billion in 2019-20.
Similarly, he said, India’s exports too are recording healthy growth and would reach USD 400 billion by the end of the current financial year.
During July 1-21, export crossed USD 22 billion and it is “poised to cross USD 32-33 billion by end of the month (July), which means our run rate is on track to achieve USD 400 billion of exports target for the first time ever”.
Further, he said that currently India is in talks with 16 countries including the UK, the EU, Australia, Canada, and the UAE for trade agreements.
With some countries, India is working for early harvest agreements which will allow the country to quickly identify areas of mutual interest and progress negotiations faster towards a comprehensive economic partnership agreement, or FTAs, the minister said.
“We have focused our efforts on a few very promising agreements where I can clearly see huge comparative advantages for India to get market access and the ability to trade both in goods and services in a much bigger way. The UK, EU, Australia, Canada, UAE are countries with whom we can very quickly expand our discussions and engagements,” he added.
India has inked FTAs with several countries, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and ASEAN members.
Under such agreements, two trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate import/customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.
Talking about vaccination, he said the government had permitted the private sector to procure 25 per cent of Covid-19 vaccines but they are not buying.
“CII should take a lead and get all of you to ensure that you take that 25 per cent vaccines… Some industry group said we will do one crore vaccinations…Nobody has gone to Bihar, North East, Jharkhand to run campaigns to remove vaccine hesitancy,” he said.