“The slowdown in global trade and investment is of serious concern to all of us”

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New Delhi, Jun 10 (UNI) Maintaining that slowdown in global trade and investment is of serious concern to all countries, Union Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has emphasised the need for reciprocal market access for Indian products.

“While India is committed to working towards building free trade, that is inclusive and development centric to bring prosperity to people around the world, focus on the imperatives of meeting the goals of SDGs, and eliminating poverty and deprivation must not be lost,” said Mr Goyal, who held a series of bilateral talks with a number of countries on the sidelines of the two-day G20 Ministerial on Trade and Digital Economy at Tsukuba, Ibaraki in Japan on June 8-9.

Mr Goyal held bilateral meetings with host Japan and countries including the US, the UK, China, France, Singapore, Korea, Spain, Canada, EU, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Chile and Australia.

“The slowdown in global trade and investment is of serious concern to all of us as it adversely affects economic growth, development and job creation,” he said and called for de-escalating trade tensions and reviving confidence in the rules based multilateral trading system which all countries had so painstakingly created.

He further reiterated that with the advent of digital technologies, services are vital drivers of growth and said servicification of the manufacturing sector is enhancing the importance of services in global trade.

“Major investment is also being driven by the services sector. Thus, we need to remove barriers and facilitate temporary movement of highly skilled professionals to sustain this investment and growth,” he said.

Mr Goyal pointed out another way to go about correcting this, is by supporting greater participation of MSMEs in developing countries both in domestic and global trade, because they are crucial for jobs and income generation, on which livelihood of millions are dependent.

India urges G20 to provide preferential market access to MSMEs in developing countries to be part of the Global supply chains, he said.

At the end of the 2-day sessions, the Commerce Minister congratulated Japan for taking initiative of putting forth a forward looking agenda,of the growing interface, between Trade and Digital Economy.

For the first time a joint session with ministers of digital economy and trade and investment was held in G20 to discuss the interface between digital economy and trade. Mr Goyal represented India in both the Joint sessions.

In his address, Mr Goyal said, ”There is no doubt that digital technologies are impacting our economies in a significant way and nations that fail to adapt to these changing realities run the risk of being left behind. Technologies can be disruptive if not harnessed in right time.”

The Minister further said that concerns over loss of jobs, revenue, erosion of competitiveness were real.

The deliberations on trade, investment and digital economy will feed into the Osaka Summit Declaration which will be adopted on June 29, 2019, according to an official statement here on Monday.

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