India has lost billions in trade deficit with South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia, says Piyush Goyal

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that Korean auto companies like Hyundai and Kia have caused billions of dollars in trade deficit to India by misusing the free trade agreement between the two countries.

“The Korean auto industry, especially Hyundai and Kia, are clearly the two laggards. They have taken advantage of our free-trade agreements with Korea and Japan and continue to import indiscriminately,” Goyal said.

Small investments of half a billion or one billion dollars have cost India dearly in terms of billions of dollars of trade deficit that we have had directly with Korea or other countries, he said.

“We are talking to Korea about opening our markets to our products, but look at the difference, Korea doesn’t stop India’s export of steel to Korea, and neither does Japan, but we can’t sell it. Both these countries have tons of steel because of the nationalistic spirit, which unfortunately we do not have.”

He said that production linked incentive (PLI) schemes can only help the manufacturing sector to some extent as ultimately they need to ‘be competitive, stand on their own feet and provide quality products to consumers’.

On free trade agreements with other countries, Goyal said he is seeing good progress in some countries like the UK and Canada. “Switzerland and allied countries have not made any compromise. I am trying to sort out the broad framework and sensitive issues like we cannot allow imported dairy products to come in and affect prices, we have to put the interests of domestic dairy farmers first needs to be seen.” said the minister.

He said that Europe consists of 27 countries, which is far more time consuming and far more bureaucratic in their approach. “The US, sadly, does not have the support of Congress to support free trade agreements, but we have devised other ways,” he said.