FTAs are an inescapable reality and the Indian chemical industry is doing its best to minimise damages.
India's proposed FTA with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is a matter of concern given the region's access to cheap feedstocks. But it appears the government is in a mood to allay these concerns.
Representatives from India and GCC are due to meet next month to take forward the proposed FTA. And according to a news report, India is likely to seek safeguards for its chemical and petrochemicals industry at the meeting to protect domestic players.
Duty protection will also be needed if the government is serious about implementing its plan for mega refining and petrochemical centres. Foreign investors are being wooed to set up shop at these centres, called PCPIRs. But if the Indian market is to be opened to the GCC countries, investors might as well look at investing in that region rather than in India.