Investment in maritime sector crucial for trade: Sitaraman


A not-too-strong global trade climate and recovery mode both in the US and the Europe at a rather slow pace, is in fact a good opportunity for investment in the maritime sector specially India, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitaraman said on Thursday. She was speaking at the Maritime India Summit event held here.

"Being a commerce minister, we want India's trade to go up and it is from this perspective that I see development of the maritime industry very crucial for the country. Agreed that the sector is not in a good health but then this is the right time to enter the business cycle, when it is in the trough phase," she said on the sidelines of the event.

India projects cargo traffic at 1,695 million tonne by 2021-2022, up 643 million tonne from FY15.

"Since 90 percent of the trade by volume and 70 percent of trade by value uses maritime facilities, it becomes important to focus closely on this sector and the government is serious about the investments happening here," said Sitaraman.

"Currently, all the key indicators such as inflation, GDP and current account deficit are at the right level and can help the country move up in ranking  of IMF if investments made in the right direction," she added.

Pertaining to opportunities in international trade, Sitaraman said she finds potential in the GCC countries and is in talks with countries in the region to expand trade ties with India.

Like prime minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis, Sitaraman too highlighted the importance of ease of doing business and said that India through its Make In India program invites investors to come here and invest in the country.

In the last few months, commerce ministry has lent a strong support to the domestic steel industry in order to get it on its feet by protecting it from cheap imports coming from China.

"We are ready to help any industry which is going through a rough patch. If the industry is able to prove to us that injury is being caused to them due to cheap imports we will do whatever needed to save the industry," explained Sitaraman.

Source: Business Standard

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