Staunch anti-RCEP advocate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the bold decision of not entering the agreement on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RSS-affiliated organisation wants the government to review the 'faulty' Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and CEPA done with Japan, South Korea, and other countries now. In a congratulatory statement issued in Delhi, Ashwini Mahajan, national co-convenor, SJM, applauded the efforts of commerce minister Piyush Goyal of convincing the ASEAN countries to review FTA with them.
"Staying away from RCEP is a decision in favour of country's small businesses, farmers, dairy, data security and manufacturing sector. SJM thanks PM Modi for showing great diplomatic farsightedness in terming the present text of the negotiations not in favour of people of India," the statement said.
Mahajan stated that RCEP would have undone various good initiatives taken by the NDA government under PM Modi. "The agreement would have killed Make In India, Digital India, Skill India and various other avenues of job creation," he said.
SJM had from the beginning requested government to stay away from RCEP, and always alerted the ills coming in the way. "India already has trade deficit of more than $105 billion with other member nations negotiating the agreement, out of which, $54 billion is with China alone. RCEP would have impacted the economy very badly. The agreement had no provisions for bridging the trade deficit. In fact, the zero tariff on most of the products would have allowed Chinese companies to dump more in our country. This would have wiped out small and micro players," SJM said.
India's decision safeguarded the interests of farmers and dairy, it said. "The RCEP could have paved way for dumps coming in from Australia and New Zealand. This would have not only killed the opportunities for doubling farmers' income, but would have wiped out several job opportunities."
The statement also pointed out that RCEP allows data sovereignty, space for making laws governing our data, and local residence for the servers, computing inferences out of these data. "It is time to rebuild the capacity, capability and the ecosystem to push the domestic and indigenous players, help them grow bigger and make them competent and competitive enough to go global," Mahajan added.