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Indian industry, farmers' bodies hail opting out of RCEP

Nov '19
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Indian industry and farmers’ bodies, including the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), the South India Garment Association (SIGA) and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) have welcomed India’s decision not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Agreement (RCEP).

Complimenting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking ‘a very pragmatic decision’, FICCI president Sandip Somany said several of India's concerns remain unaddressed and various issues are unresolved so far in the deal under negotiation.

Serious apprehensions and reservations on RCEP have been expressed by a large number of sectors, including steel, plastics, copper, aluminium, machine tools, paper, automobiles, chemicals, petro-chemicals and others, he said.

CII, which earlier cited a number of benefits from RCEP, including being part of a much larger supply chain and being able to increase its exports, vowed to continue working to integrate India's economy with that of the world.

In a statement, CII president Vikram Kirloskar said the long-term interest of India's industries lies in getting integrated with global values chains and urged all 15 countries onboard the RCEP to work with India to resolve India's ‘very legitimate concerns’.

"We sincerely hope that these issues will be resolved soon to the mutual satisfaction of all RCEP countries," the CII statement read.

Terming RCEP as ‘a double-edged sword’, CMAI president Rahul Mehta said in a statement that even within the textile value chain, some would have benefitted and others lost. CMAI believes the decision will bring relief to thousands of small manufacturers and traders.

Signing RCEP will be against the interest of small and medium business entrepreneurs as Indian small businesses are already under pressure from China and Bangladesh, SIGA general secretary Anurag Singhla said.

Welcoming the decision, Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) chairman Ronak Rughani said exports of man-made fibre (MMF) textiles have been consecutively falling month-on-month, while imports have been on rise, especially from China. Therefore, RCEP was a big stress for the Indian MMF textile industry, he said.

The Confederation Of All India Traders (CAIT) secretary general Praveen Khandelwal urged the government to work diligently towards creating a more conducive environment for retail trade in India and also erase all anomalies and imbalances created by the law violating e-commerce companies.

Dairy major Amul’s managing director RS Sodhi termed the move ‘daring’ and ‘landmark’ that will protect the interest of 10 crore farmers engaged in production of milk and related products.

"AIKSCC sincerely hopes that this Government will not try any back-door method of sabotaging the interest of Indian farmers and farm-workers through trade deals," the farmer’s body said in a statement.

Terming the decision ‘a very encouraging step’, Nitin Kunkoleinker, president of the Manufacturers' Association for Information Technology (MAIT), said it reiterates the government's strong support to the growth of manufacturing, especially in the information technology and electronics sector.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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November 2019

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