India's agreement with the no to RCEP will protect millions of jobs: Industry

NEW DELHI: India's decision not to join the RCEP Agreement it would safeguard millions of jobs in small businesses and balance economic interests, as a trade opening agreement of this scale has far-reaching consequences and can deepen the trade deficit with China, the industry said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday conveyed India's decision not to join the RCEP Agreement at a summit meeting of the 16-nation bloc, effectively wrecking its aim to create the world's largest free trade area having half of the world's population.

For India to capitalize on its strengths, it was imperative to mitigate the uproar caused by duty-free imported goods. With this movement, we hope to create more employment opportunities in India and increase overall economic and investor sentiments.

For the metal sector, which is already under stress caused by world trade wars and protectionist measures, the RCEP firm would have resulted in a further deepening of India's trade deficit with China and other nations. Jindal stainless MD Abhyuday Jindal said.

India has strongly raised the issue of market access, as well as protected lists of products, mainly to protect its domestic market, as it is feared that the country will be flooded with cheap Chinese agricultural and industrial products, once the agreement is signed.

"India opting out of RCEP, for now, is a well thought out call by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as trade-opening agreement of such far-reaching consequences would need deeper study of our comparative advantage and whether our concerns are properly addressed in the proposed framework," Assocham president B K Goenka said.

The RCEP negotiations were initiated by the leaders of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and six other countries during the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in November 2012.

Negotiations for the proposed free trade agreement included 10 ASEAN member countries and six of the block's dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.