“The world works with equal terms, there has to be an equal and fair and reciprocal arrangement,” Goyal said at the FICCI Virtual FMCG Supply Chain Expo.
If other countries are desirous of the Indian market, of the 1.3 billion Indian market opportunity, they want to provide services to meet the country’s needs, they also have to give India and Indian businesses equal opportunity to engage in their countries, Goyal said.
India is not an “assembly workshop” for foreign companies to import and then assemble their products to be sold in the Indian market, and as companies look at setting up business in the country, the government will look at the value addition they are making, Goyal said.
“I don’t believe that India is a weak-league nation that is going to be only an assembly workshop for companies to bring completely knocked down kits or semi knocked down kits and assemble them in India and sell them to their Indian partners,” he added.
When foreign companies set up industries and factories in India, the government will have to look at the need to import, and whether in a gradual and phased manner these companies are looking at bringing products to India, producing and value-adding to India and not just remaining “screw-driver technology assembly workshops,” Goyal said.
Goyal said that the Indian government invites investments, and is all for free flow of goods, but it has to be reciprocal.
Talking to criticism around the government’s recent decisions to promote self-reliant India, Goyal said, “what we are trying to do is, make sure that my domestic manufacturers, my domestic industry, our stakeholders get a fairplay.”
Goyal said that India’s balance of payments this year is going to be “very very strong” on the back of significant improvement in exports and a fall in imports. He said that green shoots are visible in the economy and a good turnaround of exports has also been registered.
“We are in July at about 91 per cent export level of July 2019 figures. Imports are still at about 70-71 per cent level of July 2019. So, broadly our balance of payments this year is going to be very very strong, which is why we feel confident that Indian industry will see opportunities for themselves, will see opportunities of growth,” Goyal said.