‘FTAs must to facilitate EXIM trade, reduce barriers’

C K Govil, President, Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) says, “FTAs reduce trade barriers and remove export regulations thus facilitating EXIM traffic. India’s exports to ASEAN Countries have increased from US$25.13 billion in 2016 to US$31.49 billion in 2021. Our exports to SAFTA nations have grown from $18.60 billion in 2016 to $22.08 billion in 2021, and to South Korea from $3.52 billion in 2016 to $4.68 billion in 2021. Our FTAs have brought in a cumulative investment of $89.54 billion in just five years. And that is just the beginning. We have seen a similar trend whenever an FTA has been signed, and the number of Indian trade partners is increasing.This will attract further foreign investments and participation in our country. Air cargo cannot be left behind amid all this action.”
He adds,India has been promoting ease of doing business, and FTAs are a testimony to that effort. India has been promoting FTAs with bilateral and regional partners to boost export-oriented domestic manufacturing. Last year, India carried 2.2 million tonnes of air cargo, 70% of which was to international sectors. This is one-tenth the size of the American air cargo market and one-fifth of China’s. This figure can increase if air cargo is prioritised under the FTAs.
India currently has 13 FTAs operational and 8 under negotiation. These are bound to uplift Indian trade on the global platform. In the past five years, India’s merchandise exports have grown by 20.75% to countries with which it has signed FTAs. It will go up if FTAs focus on air cargo. While the National Logistics Policy and Gati Shakti gave the much deserved recognition to air cargo, now it needs the boost that prioritisation in FTAs can provide.”