NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday said India has not closed the door on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Speaking at the fifth Raisina Dialogue, he said India had clearly expressed its concerns in joining the 15-nation multilateral platform and the ball was in the partner countries’ court.
Jaishankar was of the view that there was a significant gap between India’s position and that of other partner countries like the ASEAN countries, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. India, in November last year, had opted out of the trade platform citing concerns over increased trade deficit with China, which currently stands at $50 billion.
India decided to stay away from the trade deal after years of negotiations failed to bring out a solution to New Delhi’s concerns.
Jaishankar said New Delhi will evaluate the RCEP — seen as a China-supported alternative to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership —on the basis of trade merits.