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India won't engage with RCEP unless there's greater transparency: Piyush Goyal at Davos

Goyal says India backed out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership because it was an 'unbalanced trade agreement', which was not fulfilling RCEP's guiding principles

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: January 23, 2020  | 16:40 IST
India won't engage with RCEP unless there's greater transparency: Piyush Goyal at Davos
Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, during the 50th annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said India was not willing to engage with RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) unless there's "greater degree of transparency".

He added that it could only happen if member nations would engage in "open government, regulatory practices" and provide "greater market access for Indian goods and services on a reciprocal basis".

On India's decision to back out from the biggest trade deal, Goyal said it was an "unbalanced trade agreement," which was not fulfilling RCEP's guiding principles. "Therefore, India chose not to participate in it," he added.

He added trade negotiations were very complex issues. "We aren't 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," he said.

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Talking about the future of business in India, he said several companies had told him they would have at least 50 per cent of their workforce in India in future. He said that the economy was well poised to take off.

Blaming the previous UPA government for current economic woes, Goyal said the NDA inherited the economy in 2014 in a "pretty bad" shape. "We largely spent the first term in getting the economy back in shape and getting the confidence of the world," he added.

He said all investors could now see India was the place to "expand and invest", where there were equal opportunities and integrity in work.

Talking about the Centre's initiatives in strengthening public sector banks, Goyal said the Modi-led NDA had cleaned them up. "We brought to fore a lot of problems that had accumulated over the years but not recognised in banks," he said.

On the issue of liquidity crunch, he said the government was looking at "innovative ways" to resolve the issue. "We are bringing a new scheme for export financing, where we are backstopping any losses exports could lead to banks, up to the extent of 90 per cent on principle and interest," he said.

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