RCEP not end of the road, India exploring other options: Piyush Goyal

India, which decided against joining the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), is reviewing its options for entering into free trade agreements with countries like Japan, Korea and member countries of the ASEAN.

Simultaneously, the country is also focusing on bilateral trade agreements with the European Union and the US, union minister of commerce and industry and railways Piyush Goyal has said.
Addressing a press conference on the decision taken by India on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), in New Delhi today, Goyal said India will always enter trade negotiations with a country first approach and that it would never finalise any trade agreement in a hurry. 
He said India’s economic interests and national priorities come first and the concerns of the farmers, dairy sector, MSMEs and domestic manufacturing will be addressed and these sectors will be protected. 
The commerce and industry minister informed that throughout the seven-year-long RCEP negotiations India has consistently stood its ground to uphold its demands, particularly over controlling trade deficit, stronger protection against unfair imports and better market opportunities for Indian goods and services.
The opening up of the Indian market must be matched by openings in areas where our businesses can benefit and India will not allow its market to become a dumping ground for goods from other countries, he said.
Goyal said his government is having a fresh look at possibilities of free trade agreements (FTAs) with Japan, South Korea and the ASEAN countries. The review of the FTA with South Korea, which began 3 years ago, is being fast tracked. He further informed that while India has already secured agreement with ASEAN for a review of the FTA, a joint working group is discussing the issues to be addressed in Japan FTA.
Replying to questions, Goyal informed that at present India is exploring trade agreements with the USA and European Union, where Indian industry and services will be competitive and benefit from access to large developed markets.