Should not close RCEP op­tion, will pro­tect In­dia’s in­ter­ests, says Goyal

Govt seeks re­view of S Korea, Ja­pan FTAs

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK New Delhi: Piyush Goyal

New Delhi: Com­merce and in­dus­try min­is­ter Piyush Goyal on Wed­nes­day said In­dia should not close its op­tion to join the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP), the mega trade bloc, fear­ing ad­verse im­pact on a few sec­tors. But he vowed to pro­tect the coun­try’s in­ter­ests, while in­di­cat­ing that the govern­ment has not shut the door on the trade ne­go­ti­a­tions that have been underway since 2012.

“As long as In­dia’s do­mes­tic in­dus­try and our na­tional in­ter­est is pro­tected, the faster it (RCEP pact) is done, the bet­ter it is for In­dia be­cause the

Af­ter get­ting Asean to re­view its FTA with In­dia, the govern­ment is mak­ing the same pitch to South Korea and Ja­pan. Com­merce and in­dus­try min­is­ter said that these trade agree­ments lacked an an­nual re­view mech­a­nism and were not ne­go­ti­ated well by the UPA. In­dus­try has wel­comed the re­view of the Asean pact with CII say­ing, “In­dia’s trade deficit with Asean, which was ap­prox­i­mately $12 bil­lion in 2011-12, jumped to over $22 bil­lion in 2018-19. With the re­view, we ex­pect the sit­u­a­tion to be cor­rected.”

agree­ment which we will fi­nalise, if we agree to fi­nalise and join, will nec­es­sar­ily rest on the pil­lar of na­tional in­ter­est and it will nec­es­sar­ily give ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion to In­dian in­dus­try, will nec­es­sar­ily en

sure that it does not al­low in­dis­crim­i­nate im­ports to come in and will nec­es­sar­ily pro­vide huge opportunit­y for In­dian ex­ports and job cre­ation,” the min­is­ter told re­porters. At the same time, he said, the govern­ment will do its best to ad­dress the con­cerns of those who feel dis­ad­van­taged.

The state­ment comes two days af­ter for­eign min­is­ter S Jais­hankar said In­dia had reser­va­tions about join­ing the trade bloc due to the mas­sive trade deficit with China and its “un­fair and pro­tec­tion­ist poli­cies”. Apart from In­dia and China, Ja­pan, South Korea, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Asean coun­tries are part of the di­a­logue to put in place what will be the world’s largest free trade pact. Over the years, In­dia has been ac­cused of drag­ging its feet and delaying fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the deal as the do­mes­tic in­dus­try fears a surge in im­ports from China.

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