FTAs 'have generated import and export growth for India'

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New government data has shown how free trade agreements have bolstered import and export figures for India over the last few years.

New data from the Indian government has highlighted the positive impact of free trade agreements (FTAs) on import and export growth in the country.

Since the mid-2000s, the number of FTAs India is involved in has double to around 42, leading to increased trade. By and large, this has been focused more on imports than exports, as India maintains relatively high tariffs and thus saw larger tariff reductions than its FTA partners.

Its agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has resulted in a 33 per cent increase in exports and 79 per cent rise in imports, for example, with the government seeing this as evidence that the impact of FTAs is "positive and statistically significant".

As such, India is seeking to take steps to prepare itself for further moves towards a more globalised approach to trade, which it believes to be necessary at a time of slowing demand and excess capacity.

The government statement said: "Progress on FTAs, if pursued, must be combined with strengthening India's ability to respond with World Trade Organization-consistent measures, such as anti-dumping and conventional duties and safeguard measures."