Union Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said India is trying to resolve trade disputes with several countries and is also willing to create a new world trade order as it extends a hand of friendship to all. This comes a day after the country slapped tariffs on 29 US products in a retaliatory move.
Addressing the 5th India International MSME Start-up Expo, the commerce and industry minister hoped that small and medium enterprises would create more economic opportunities and become the driver of a new India.
Prabhu said: "We are trying to resolve the trade disputes with so many countries in the world. We want to make sure that India remains a friend of all countries of the world whether it is South East Asia, whether it is Far East including our good friend Japan, whether it is in the Middle East, whether it is Africa or Latin America, in each of these segments.
"I have personally met almost all the ministers at different levels at different time, of course, Europe and the US."
The minister's remarks came a day after India decided to raise customs duty on 29 products, including almond, walnut and pulses, imported from the US as a retaliatory action against the tariff hike by Washington.
The duty hike would come into effect from August 4, the finance ministry said in a notification.
"We are not against any country. We would like to do business with all the countries of the world and therefore I extend a hand of friendship to all of you," Prabhu said.
"Please join us with your ideas and we together can develop better world, benefit each other. We want India to benefit obviously, but not at the expense of the other country. We would like both to benefit and to do that we are willing to create a new trade order," he added.
Last week, India had submitted to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) a list of 30 items on which it proposed to raise customs duty by up to 50 per cent.
The decision to hike duties is in retaliation to the unilateral increase in tariff by the US on certain steel and aluminium products earlier this year which had tariff implication of USD 241 million on India.
Prabhu pointed out that MSMEs take wealth to different corners of the country, through equitable distribution of wealth, unlike large industries.
He also said that they play a key role in exports, in promotion of industrialisation and innovation.
"We must promote SMEs, we must promote innovation and startups and that is why our government is committed to do this," Prabhu said.
The event is supported by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The Expo being organised by the MSME Development Forum is supported by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
(With PTI inputs)