00:42 GMT +323 November 2019
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    India’s Position on Trade Pact With ASEAN Amounts to ‘Meek Surrender’, Says Ruling Party's Ally

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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India is participating in the co-establishment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement set to become the largest in the world; it includes the 10 ASEAN member nations, India, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia and New Zealand. The pact is currently in the final phase of negotiations.

    Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM) or Forum for National Self-Reliance, the economic affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), regarded as the parent organisation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has stated that certain provisions of the RCEP are not only detrimental to the interests of the Indian economy, but also contradict the stated position of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

    “These provisions (on investment) are a meek surrender of the sovereign rights of any country to seek the transfer of technology from the investing companies, training to their domestic partners, and removing the cap on the quantum of royalties which domestic companies can pay to their foreign partners,” said Ashwini Mahajan, Co-Convenor of SJM.

    Mahajan said that while business conglomerates from South Korea, Japan and even China will gain, India is bound to lose in this trade deal.

    “We can’t afford foreign investments in our economy, without any real benefit for the domestic players. If multinational corporations are not helping their partners to improve their know-how and want to repatriate a large part of their revenue to their global coffers; the foreign direct investment (FDI) will become more detrimental for the society,” said Mahajan in a statement.  

    The right-wing organisation's leader said the government should seek out a national consultation before agreeing to such provisions. “The present structure and provisions are very difficult to accept; it would do more damage than resolving any existing challenge,” he cautioned the government.   

    SJM had also red-flagged the federal government’s plan to raise funds by selling foreign currency-denominated bonds. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced during her budget speech in parliament that the government would borrow in foreign currency to the tune of $10 billion to finance the budget deficit.

    The outfit has been critical of several economic policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including easing FDI norms in several sectors, saying “FDI is not a panacea for all ills. It is not a solution for all problems. FDI has done more bad than good to the economy.”

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    Tags:
    Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), ASEAN, Trade, Economy, New Delhi, India
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