Commerce and Industry minister has met industry bodies to review issues that India would need to keep in mind when continuing deliberations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in China.
The associations has said that industries are apprehensive of India signing RCEP because of fears that China will use it to enter and dominate the Indian market by dumping it with cheaper goods.
The government has also assured the steel sector that items that had earlier been removed from the purview of the RCEP, won’t be brought back.But the steel makers had demanded that steel products be completely removed.
However,the minister has expressed concerns that RCEP countries currently account for over 40% of global trade.Hence,not entering the agreement would leave India completely isolated from technology transfers and without a competitive advantage.
The minister has also said that participating in the RCEP agreement would give India the chance to improve upon its existing free trade agreements with RCEP countries which have currently put the country at a disadvantage as it has a trade deficit with most of them.
RCEP is proposed mega trade pact between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing Free trade agreements(FTA’s)(Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
It aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates.It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.