FTAs will open up market access, help U.P.’s wineries: Piyush Goyal - Hindustan Times

FTAs will open up market access, help U.P.’s wineries: Piyush Goyal

Feb 12, 2023 11:39 PM IST

There are many countries where people want to taste Indian wine and liquor, said the Union commerce and industry minister

Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who led the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) with the UAE last year—the fastest ever negotiated FTA globally—said he planned to finalise couple of more FTAs this year.

Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal (second from right) at the UPGIS 2023 on Feb 12. (Deepak Gupta/HT photo)
Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal (second from right) at the UPGIS 2023 on Feb 12. (Deepak Gupta/HT photo)

“I have been engaged in getting FTAs done and we sealed FTAs with UAE and one with Australia too last year, and this year we hope to have a few more FTAs going and these will create many opportunities for U.P.’s breweries and wineries too,” Goyal said at the session on ‘UP: Opportunities in excise and sugar industry sector’ on the concluding day of the UP Global Investors’ Summit (UPGIS) in Lucknow on Saturday.

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FTAs that Goyal referred to are treaties between countries that aim to reduce/eliminate barriers to trade and investment and facilitate stronger commercial ties between the nations concerned.

“These FTAs will open up market access, investment and also help us get newer technology,” Goyal said. “I remember when we were talking of FTA with Australia, the thinking was to not open up the wine industry and this (perhaps was driven) by the sentiment that foreign wine will come to the country,” Goyal said.

“When I looked at the presentations that were made here, I realised that there are nearly 28 varieties of fruits out of which wine can be made and 32 raw material sources out of which wine can be made and exported,” he added.

“There are many countries where people want to taste Indian wine and liquor. I remember a minister from a foreign country visiting us and desired to have some Indian alcohol. Later, through the embassy, I sent an Indian gin to the minister who liked it very much. So, we should welcome technology and newer markets. I want to tell chief minister Yogi Adityanath ji to consider sending delegations abroad to bring in newer technology and to probe newer markets where our products could be showcased,” the minister said.

Amit Shah approach

“In 2017, when elections were around the corner, I was entrusted with the task of formulating the manifesto. So, our teams moved around the state and discovered that a lot needed to be done to bring the state back on track. But we realised that the budget for doing that would be huge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is absolutely against making empty promises to the people. Ram Mandir was a promise in the manifesto and has been kept,” he said.

“As we faced with this economic issue, I remember Amit Shah ji (incumbent Union home minister) telling us with confidence that nothing would be impossible if land, sand (mining) and liquor mafia were eliminated. That was how we incorporated commitments in our manifesto in 2017. Today, just to cite one example, UP’s excise revenue collections have jumped three times in just six years from around 14, 500 crore to 42,000 crore despite two Covid-hit years. It is a proof of what an honest government could do,” Goyal said.

People to have a responsibility

“When investors from U.P. are coming and experiencing the change, it is also an indication that they are trusting the judgement of the people of the state that they will continue to elect an honest, decisive government for times to come,” Goyal said.

Start-up culture in U.P.

“About six years back, there were just a handful of startups across the country. Now, there are about 90,000 and out of that 8,277 start-ups are from U.P. Who could have thought of so many start-ups in U.P.? I was pleasantly surprised when a Varanasi based start-up founder, a youth, said he had found alternative to Lithium, something for which we have to depend on foreign countries,” the minister added.

He said Yogi Adityanath was the first chief minister to appoint a dedicated person for promoting local products globally and that was why U.P. had attained big achievements not only in production but also in exports.

“Earlier, the exports were pegged at 85,000 crore and now it has crossed 1, 77,000- crore mark,” Goyal added. Uttar Pradesh minister of state for excise Nitin Agarwal informed that the state had made a new fruit wine policy that was aimed at helping farmers. “Earlier fruit juice worth 400 crore was wasted but now we are exporting it,” said additional chief secretary Sanjay R Bhoosreddy. Amar Sinha, COO, Radico Khaitan, said his group was investing 600 crore in U.P.

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