BJP National Secretary says big economies joining regional trade pact a worry

New Delhi: There are concerns regarding some large economies joining the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and safeguards have to be put in place to protect the domestic industry, Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Ram Madhav said at an event today.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a proposed free trade agreement between the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and six other countries--Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand--with which the regional block has a free trade agreement.

The final trade deal is to be concluded in November.

The third leaders' summit on the trade deal will be held in Bangkok on Nov 4, and this is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has held consultations with industry representatives to take into consideration industry concerns and finalise India's position on the trade pact. The meetings deliberated on putting in place appropriate safeguards, including an auto-trigger mechanism against a sudden surge in imports from countries under the trade deal.

Under the auto-trigger mechanism, customs duty will automatically increase once imports cross a certain threshold.

According to media reports, members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have asked India to decide whether it wants to remain a part of the proposed trade grouping, as the deal may be concluded this year.

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