Jaishankar defends govt’s call to opt out of RCEP pact | India News – Times of India

0
3


NEW DELHI: A day after RCEP was signed by 15 nations — without India — foreign minister S Jaishankar mounted a spirited defence of the government’s decision to stay away from trading arrangements that could end up de-industrialising India.
Addressing the Deccan Dialogue at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, Jaishankar said, the external world was not all free and fair trade, but full of “non-tariff barriers and state capitalism”.
“The effect of past trade agreements has been to de-industrialize some sectors. The consequences of future ones would lock us into global commitments, many of them not to our advantage. Those who argue stressing openness and efficiency do not present the full picture.”
It was a direct hit at China, whose policies of subsidies to their state-owned enterprises ends up with Chinese products deeply undercutting those from other countries, and hitting at their own manufacturing capabilities. China came in for additional indirect criticism as well. Jaishankar reminded his audience that it was India that had called out China’s BRI and shaped the international discourse on connectivity projects, that they should be transparent, environment friendly and respectful of sovereignty.
“In the name of openness, we have allowed subsidized products and unfair production advantages from abroad to prevail. And all the while, this was justified by the mantra of an open and globalized economy. “
In November 2019, India refused to go ahead with RCEP because the agreement failed to take on board India’s concerns. India’s decision was a tough call and deliberated at the highest levels of the government.
India feared the agreement would become a free trade deal with China through the back door, even though other countries, which is one of the reasons India is currently reviewing a number of its FTAs in the region. Second, India asked to move the base year from 2014 to a more recent year but that was turned down. The agreement did not protect against import surges, nor did it address India’s demands on services and movement of professionals.
Jaishankar said, “It was quite extraordinary that an economy as attractive as India allowed the framework to be set by others. With the passage of time, our predicament became increasingly serious. The choice was to double down on an approach whose damaging consequences were already apparent or to have the courage to think through the problem for ourselves. We chose the latter.”
India has embraced a policy of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” to build self-reliance while aiming to stay away from traditional protectionism.
Explaining the concept, Jaishankar said, “it is to enter the global arena with cards to play, not just to provide a market for others. This is really about seriously building comprehensive national power. Our success in doing so will determine future terms of engagement and our standing with the world.”
In the post-pandemic world, this will take on different implications, requiring India to tread wisely and carefully.
Acknowledging it, he said, “As the world of technology applications and global production becomes more integrated, choices today have a much deeper strategic implication. The limited progress we have made and the gap with our real potential puts us in an especially difficult position.”



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here