After India decided against being a signatory of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on Monday, 4th November, China has stepped forward to try and assuage the Indian government’s worries about the free-trade agreement.
Speaking with the press in the country capital Beijing in the aftermath of India’s withdrawal from the trade deal, Wang Shouwen, China’s deputy commerce minister said he understood India’s reluctance. At the same time, he pointed out that India signing the deal would help Indian exporters widen their market horizon.
He said, as quoted by Reuters, “We understand that some industries in India will have some concerns, but RCEP will also bring huge export opportunities to the Indian industry”. The primary reason for India’s non-agreement to the deal was that RCEP would potentially harm the interests of local Indian entrepreneurs with the country becoming a dumping ground for imports from other RCEP signatories.
Earlier, the Indian government of Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been vociferous in its support of the trade deal. However, following rampant protests from the Indian opposition, specifically, the Indian National Congress (INC), Modi was forced to decide against signing the deal.
The decision has ignited debate across India’s economists’ section with many terming the move as being regressive and against the interests of the nation. Others feel that given the scenario of an economic slowdown in the country; India had nothing to offer from its side to enrich RCEP’s potential for itself.