Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, reiterating that India's decision not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a final one, for now, has said that the government would renegotiate all its current Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Asian and other nations.
Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Goyal in a press briefing on Tuesday said FTAs with (South) Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Asian nations were all signed in a hurry. "India did not get any market access for its industries in these deals and Indian interests were not secured."
"The Trade deficit with Asian and other nations has gone up eleven times from $7 billion in 2004 to $78 billion in 2014," the minister added.
Stating that India's FTA with South Korea is currently being reviewed and the process of negotiations with Japan will likely soon begin, the minister said: "The first meeting on renegotiating the FTA with Japan will be held later this month."
On RCEP, the minister said India is out of the deal for now but will remain open to talks if its demands are met.
"Should other countries come with an offer, we will continue to engage with them. India is not out of the pact in an acrimonious manner. We have put forth our issues in a logical manner. Trade negotiations should be given adequate time."
During the China-led RCEP negotiations, India put forth several demands but withdrew from the trade group over differences on open market access with China.
India also demanded an auto-trigger safeguards mechanism to govern import surges and keep the dairy industry as well as the farm sector out of the deal.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted out of the deal, saying his conscience does not permit him to agree to the current form of the free trade agreement.