By Manash Pratim Bhuyan :
India has been raising the issue of market access as well as protected lists of goods mainly to shield its domestic market
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday that India will not join the mega Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal as negotiations failed to address New Delhi’s “outstanding issues and concerns”. Prime Minister Modi made the announcement during his speech at the RCEP Summit here, which was attended by several world leaders. “The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of the RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns. In such a situation, it is not possible for India to join RCEP Agreement,” Modi said.
The RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN nations and six of its FTA (free trade agreement) partners - China, India, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. However, India opted out of the RCEP. The original RCEP was aiming to facilitate the creation of the biggest free-trade region in the world as the 16-nation grouping is home to 3.6 billion people, or nearly half the world’s population. India has been forcefully raising the issue of market access as well as protected lists of goods mainly to shield its domestic market as there have been fears that the country may be flooded with cheap Chinese agricultural and industrial products once it signs the deal.
“India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. India has been pro-actively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. India has worked for the cherished objective of striking balance, in the spirit of give and take,” the PM said. “Today, when we look around we see during seven years of RCEP negotiations, many things, including the global economic and trade scenarios have changed. We cannot overlook these changes,” he added. The RCEP negotiations were launched by ASEAN leaders and six other countries during the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in November 2012. The objective of launching RCEP negotiations was to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN member States and its FTA partners. “When I measure the RCEP Agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permit me to join RCEP,” Modi said.
Opposition leaders meet to discuss RCEP, economic issues
NEW DELHI :
SENIOR Opposition leaders met here on Monday to discuss the slide in the economy as well as the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations in Bangkok and the agreement’s implications for India. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and NCP leader Sharad Pawar were not present when the meeting started. Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Randeep Surjewala of the Congress attended the meeting, which also saw the presence of RLSP chief and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(M)’s T K Rangarajan, RJD leader Manoj Jha, TMC’s Nadeem ul Haque, DMK’s T R Baalu, and Sharad Yadav.