Keep steel, allied products out of RCEP: Traders’ body

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 21, 2019 Published on June 21, 2019

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) submitted a memorandum calling for India not to sign the mega trade pact.

Domestic steel and other metal products should be kept out of the proposed RCEP as the mega trade pact will enable nations like South Korea and China to flood the Indian market with their goods, traders’ body CAIT said on Friday.

In a meeting convened by the Commerce Ministry to discuss the impact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on steel sector, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) submitted a memorandum calling for India not to sign the mega trade pact, saying it will adversely affect steel trade and industry in the country. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal attended the meeting.

CAIT said the pact will open flood gates for RCEP countries to export to India through zero duty access, making operations for domestic producers non-viable.

“It (RCEP) will damage India’s export competitiveness since the trade balance in the country is already skewed to a greater extent. Therefore, we are of the considered view that India should not enter into any RCEP agreement on steel and other allied products,” the traders’ body said.

The RCEP bloc comprises 10 ASEAN members and their six FTA partners -- India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. ASEAN members comprise Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.

RCEP negotiations, which started in Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, aim to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.

Pressure is mounting on India for early conclusion of the proposed trade pact. Member countries are looking to conclude the talks by the end of this year, but many issues, including the number of products on which duties will be eliminated, are yet to be finalised.

Published on June 21, 2019
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