Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday hit back after Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s remarks on the proposed RCEP agreement, saying it was during the UPA regime that India joined negotiations for the pact.
He reminded the Opposition party that the government would decide on an agreement on India’s terms and according to what is good for the people and industry.
In a series of tweets, he said, “Smt. Sonia Gandhi ji has suddenly woken up to RCEP and FTAs. So where was she- when trade deficit with RCEP nations increased from $7 Billion in 2004 to $78 Billion in 2014? When her Govt forced India to join RCEP negotiations with China in 2011-12.”
Posing further questions, Goyal sought Sonia’s answer on FTAs signed with ASEAN and South Korea in 2010 and Malaysia and Japan in 2011 during the UPA regime. “So where was she when her Govt. opened 74% of its market to ASEAN countries but richer countries like Indonesia opened only 50% for India? Why did she not speak against giving larger concessions to richer countries,” he tweeted.
“Where was Sonia ji when her Govt agreed to explore an India-China FTA in 2007? I hope ex PM Dr Manmohan Singh will speak up against this insult to him,” he added.
Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interview to a foreign publication, Goyal said the PM has highlighted that RCEP must be a win-win.
Citing his earlier tweet, Goyal stated, “Our Government is not a weak Government. It is a strong & decisive Government which will decide on any agreement on India’s terms and according to what is good for the people & industry.” Although the minister did not reveal whether India would formally commit to the RCEP in Bangkok, his remarks in reaction to the Congress appeared to suggest that the government would not buckle under the Opposition’s political pressure.