In the light of RCEP holding the final round of discussions on regional trade in Bangkok today, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal has assured that India will not enter into any free trade agreements (FTAs) or economic partnerships in a rush as any
free trade agreement has to be a two- way benefit arrangement and a win-win for all sides.
India is not in the hands of a weak leadership that it would meet the deadlines of regional FTAs, he said while speaking at a State Consultation Workshop for Make in India in New Delhi on Wednesday. The final meeting of the negotiators of 16 nations is taking place today on 1st of November.
The minister assured that India will always protect its strategic and economic interests while engaging in multilateral talks. He urged citizens to talk, argue and understand issues and not indulge in creating a fear psychosis as the Government of India will never sign on any trade agreement without wider consultations.
He further said for the regional Economic Partnership Agreement talks that are underway the most extensive stakeholder consultations have been done by the minister and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Goyal, however, cautioned that in today’s world India cannot adopt an isolationist position and remain cut-off from the rest of the world but India will engage with the world ensuring all necessary and adequate safeguards for its domestic industry both manufacturing and services.
It bears recall that the protest against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has steadily been growing across the country, mostly on issues of dairy import. GCMMF, the owner of the brand Amul had also made representation in the Ministry depicting how even 5% of import can damage the Indian dairy scene.
The ranks of those opposed to the talks swelled with Kerala Chief Minister joining the bandwagon of farmers and dairy women. He has called for withdrawing from the RCEP negotiations. In the light of the 1st November meeting social media is flooded with hashtag “#norcep” for India.
In the Bangkok meeting on 11-12 October which was supposed to be the last meeting as it was attended by the ministers of respective countries including Piyush Goyal from India, a few issues raised by India including market access, investment and e-commerce, could not find a solution.