Minister of State of Commerce and Industry, C. R. Chaudhary, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha mentioned that some industry associations including those relating to steel have expressed concerns on imports under bilateral free trade agreements with Japan, Korea, and ASEAN. However, steel imports from these countries include high-grade steel, which is not manufactured domestically.
The volume of trade, including both exports and imports with these countries has increased since the signing of the bilateral trade agreements. Notwithstanding a slight increase in the trade deficit, the domestic industry has benefited from the trade agreements due to the cheaper import of raw materials and intermediates from these countries for stimulating value-added domestic manufacturing. The trade agreements have adequate trade remedial provisions for dealing with certain surges in imports that might threaten domestic industry.