Commerce minister Piyush Goyal, during an informal consultation on the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), on Tuesday stressed the need for a mechanism to address “persistent and wide imbalances in trade” to assuage stakeholders. India’s industry, which remains apprehensive about the impact of previous Free Trade Agreements, is yet to be convinced about the benefits of RCEP, according to him.
“Market access issues with China for Indian goods have been particularly problematic. Indian industry is not convinced that RCEP will create a win-win situation for all by ensuring balanced outcomes in and across the key pillars, particularly goods and services,” stated an official release following Goyal’s participation in the India-ASEAN Troika Trade Ministers’ meeting.
“The Minister said there is apprehension and pessimism in Indian industry about the impact of previous Free Trade Agreements. India made asymmetrical sacrifice in goods, giving much more than it received. The promise of commensurate offers in services subsequently by ASEAN countries did not fructify,” it said. There has been a lack of “full cooperation” in investigating and addressing breaches of the Rules of Origin provisions in trade with India, leading to a “surge” in goods imports into the country, it said.