The ruling BJP Monday welcomed the Centre’s decision to not join China-backed mega Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal, calling it a sign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “strong leadership” and “unflinching resolve”. India on Monday decided not to join the RCEP deal as it does not address India’s “outstanding issues and concerns”, government sources said.
Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah said the decision will ensure support to India’s farmers, MSME sector, dairy and manufacturing sectors, among others. “India’s decision to not sign RCEP is a result of PM @narendramodi’s strong leadership & unflinching resolve to ensure national interest in all circumstances,” he tweeted “PM @narendramodi’s firm stand over the years of not going ahead with a deal if our interests are not taken care of, is a welcome break from the past, where a weak UPA government ceded precious ground on trade and could not protect national interest,” Shah said.
India’s decision to not sign RCEP is a result of PM @narendramodi’s strong leadership & unflinching resolve to ensure national interest in all circumstances.
It shall ensure support to our farmers, MSMEs, dairy & manufacturing sector, pharmaceutical, steel & chemical industries.
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 4, 2019
BJP working president J P Nadda also hailed the Prime Minister, saying he did not bow down before the global pressure. “India did not bow down to global pressure and give away its economic interests unlike previous Congress led governments which opened Indian market through weak FTAs. PM @narendramodi ji has again shown his commitment to safeguard the interests of the poor,” Nadda tweeted.
The BJP congratulates Hon PM @narendramodi ji, who is recognised world over as a tough negotiator for his decisive leadership to protect our national interest. Under him India’s foreign policy reflects India First
Explained: What is the RCEP trade deal?
“The BJP congratulates Hon PM @narendramodi ji, who is recognised world over as a tough negotiator for his decisive leadership to protect our national interest. Under him India’s foreign policy reflects India First,” he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress, which had warned the government about signing the deal, claimed victory over the government’s turning down the deal. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said it is a win for all those protecting national interests.
“A forceful opposition by Congress and Rahul Gandhi ensures that BJP government backs down from bartering the interests of farmers, dairy producers, fishermen, small and medium businesses at the altar of political expediency. A victory for all fighting for protecting national interests,” he said on Twitter.
He said with “rampant unemployment, a sinking economy and deep agrarian crisis emanating from utter mismanagement of economy by BJP Government”, signing RCEP would have been catastrophic.
“The Modi Government was pushing to sign RCEP without addressing genuine concerns and national interests,” he said.
“India’s farmers and MSME’s had genuine unaddressed concerns about — Circumvention of Rules of Origin to dump Chinese goods; Absence of safeguards to prevent against import surges at the cost of domestic industry; No assurance on market access for service and IT industry,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the government alleging that the proposed free trade deal will flood the country with cheap goods, resulting in millions of job losses and crippling the economy.
The RCEP is an umbrella trade agreement involving 16 countries, including the 10 ASEAN countries and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. Once concluded, this promises to be the biggest free-trade zone in the world.
ASEAN leaders had originally proposed the idea of RCEP in 2012 when it was endorsed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress-led UPA government — talks began in 2013.
India’s opting out of the deal stems from the fear that some domestic sectors may be hit by cheaper alternatives from other RCEP countries. Apprehensions have been expressed that cheaper Chinese products would “flood” India.