RCEP An Unbalanced Trade Agreement: Piyush Goyal

RCEP An Unbalanced Trade Agreement: Piyush Goyal

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement was an unbalanced agreement, which was not fulfilling the guiding principles on which the pact was initiated, said India's Industry and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal here on Thursday.

"RCEP was an unbalanced trade agreement, which was not fulfilling the guiding principles on which the RCEP was started. Therefore, India chose not to participate in it," Goyal said in a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2020 here. "India is not willing to engage with the RCEP unless we see a greater degree of transparency, open government, regulatory practices and greater market access for Indian goods and services on a reciprocal basis," he stated.

Last year, India decided not to join the RCEP agreement as its key concerns were not addressed.

The key issues behind India's decision not to be part of RCEP included inadequate protection against import surge, possible circumvention of rules of origin, keeping the base year as 2014 and no credible assurances on market access and non-tariff barriers.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member-states of ASEAN and FTA partners.

"Trade negotiations are very complex issues. We are not negotiating trade with deadlines and in a hurry. The FTAs that were entered into from 2009-12, sadly did not have as many stakeholder consultations as our government is doing," said Goyal.

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