India decides not to join the mega trade agreement of RCEP since key concerns are not addressed

NEW DELHI: India decided on Monday not to join the China-backed group Regional Integral Economic Association ( RCEP ) trade agreement , saying that their key concerns about the agreement have not been addressed, sources said.

There will be no compromise on core interests. RCEP agreement does not reflect its original intent, top government sources said.

The sources added that India's position is a mixture of pragmatism, the need to safeguard the interests of the poor and the effort to give an advantage to India's service sector.

The Modi government had taken a tough position on the mega Asian trade agreement, pointing out several concerns, from the base year for tariff reduction to protection against Chinese imports and the opening of the service sector by the other 15 countries.

Indian officials made it clear that the Modi administration is not willing to accept any deadlines and wants the country's interests to be fully protected.

There were no credible guarantees for India about market access and non-tariff barriers. India also had very valid concerns about maintaining 2014 as the base year for tariff reductions, sources said.

Claiming that India will no longer give in to the pressure of world powers on trade issues, sources said that this time India is playing in the lead.