Leaders of RCEP member states at 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit in Bangkok. Photograph:( Reuters )
The Union Minister further said that India is not willing to engage with the RCEP unless it sees a 'greater degree of transparency, open government, regulatory practice and greater market access.'
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement was an unbalanced agreement, which was not fulfilling the guiding principles on which the pact was initiated, India's Industry and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said in Davos as he led the Indian delegation to the annual World Economic Forum.
Speaking during a session at WEF, Goyal said, "RCEP was an unbalanced trade agreement, which was not fulfilling the guiding principles on which the RCEP was started. Therefore, India chose not to participate in it."
The Union Minister further said that India is not willing to engage with the RCEP unless it sees a "greater degree of transparency, open government, regulatory practice and greater market access."
"Trade negotiations are very complex issues. We are not negotiating trade with deadlines and in a hurry. The FTAs that were entered into from 2009-12, sadly did not have as many stakeholder consultations as our government is doing," said Goyal.
Last year, India decided not to join the RCEP agreement as its key concerns were not addressed.
The key issues behind India's decision not to be part of RCEP included inadequate protection against import surge, insufficient differential with China, possible circumvention of rules of origin, keeping the base year as 2014 and no credible assurances on market access and non-tariff barriers.
The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member-states of ASEAN and FTA partners.
Meanwhile, at WEF, Goyal had a number of engagements with various ministers of other countries and CEOs of prestigious companies including, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tadashi Maeda, Governor of Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
(With inputs from agencies)