Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anand Sharma addresses Global Investment Conference in London
Mentions the need to keep labour markets open
The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma today addressed The Global Investment Conference in London. Speaking during a session on Global Trade Partnerships, Shri Sharma put stress on the issue of free movement of labour across the borders. Shri Sharma said that “if we are viewing the trade paradigm from a perspective of generating sustainable employment, it is imperative to address the issue of free movement of labour across borders”. He also wondered as to why “in today’s globalised world, where capital and technology move with unprecedented speed, in unprecedented volumes across national boundaries”, labour cannot move. British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Dr. Vince Cable and Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Trade and Investment, Nigeria, were also present during the session on Global Trade Partnerships.

Shri Sharma said that trade during the 21st century is vastly different from that during the last century. It is because, Shri Sharma added, the 21st century trade is “based on a strong trade and investment linkage which is anchored in international investment in production facilities and trade in intermediate goods.” Shri Sharma further said that today, intermediate goods account for more than half of developed country imports and nearly three quarters of imports of large developing economies.

Highlighting the success of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), European Union’s growth, and dynamism of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, which Shri Sharma said are “testimony to the potential offered by freer markets and liberal trade regimes”, he added that it is no longer an option for countries to stand back in isolation and erect barriers around their national boundaries. “Today, intra-NAFTA trade constitutes 51% of its total trade, intra-EU trade is 65% and intra-ASEAN trade is a quarter of the total ASEAN trade,” Shri Sharma said to underscore that regional trade agreements are now the building blocks of the emerging global economic architecture.

Stating that India has “engaged with all dynamic and emerging parts of the world in a spirit of true partnerships”, Shri Sharma said that India is in “an advanced stage of concluding an ambitious Broad based Trade and Investment agreement with EU.” India, in the last three years, has also signed Trade in Goods Agreement with ASEAN, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with Republic of Korea, Japan, and Malaysia. 

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