India’s decision to stay out of RCEP ‘economic victory’, BJP lawmakers told
India on November 4 decided against joining the RCEP trade agreement as Modi told leaders of the other participating countries that the deal does not satisfactorily address New Delhi’s “outstanding issues and concerns”.Updated: Nov 20, 2019 02:04 IST
India’s move to assert itself and not to give in to pressure from other countries to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was an economic victory, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers were told at the party’s first parliamentary party meeting during the ongoing winter session.
According to people privy to the discussions at the meeting, Union commerce, industry and railway minister Piyush Goyal gave a detailed account of why India chose not to join the 15-nation trade bloc. External affairs minister S Jaishankar gave an account of the foreign visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was not present at the meeting.
“The minister [Goyal] explained why India chose to opt out of the RCEP and how the country benefits from it. There was a lot of pressure from China [to join], but India did not succumb to pressure because of strong and able leadership. This is an economic victory for India,” a party functionary privy to the meeting said on condition of anonymity.
“India has already opened up 74% of its market. Yet it was being asked to do more, whereas Malaysia has opened only 52%. There are also discrepancies in customs duty. But having asserted itself, and made provisions to protect its domestic industry, India will now be a powerful trade centre.”
The functionary added that the other countries that are part of the trade bloc have now given official notes that Indian concerns should be addressed immediately as these also apply to them.
India on November 4 decided against joining the RCEP trade agreement as Modi told leaders of the other participating countries that the deal does not satisfactorily address New Delhi’s “outstanding issues and concerns”.
Jaishankar gave details about Modi’s participation in the United National General Assembly meeting in September and the ‘Howdy Modi’ rally, which US President Donald Trump also attended. He also briefed the lawmakers about Modi’s participation in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) summit in Brazil, the ASEAN meeting this month as well as his trips to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Bhutan.
Jaishankar told the lawmakers about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s move to accord their highest civilian honours to Modi.