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BJP chief to take up RCEP with govt, PM to make a call (IANS Exclusive)

Saturday - October 12, 2019 10:50 pm , Category : BUSINESS
New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) Amid opposition to the free-trade agreement (FTA) between 16 countries, including India, by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has sent a report to the party president, to be taken up with the Prime Minister.
The report has been prepared on the basis of talks with the organisations associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), leaders of workers' unions and think-tanks.
Gopal Krishna Agrawal, BJP spokesman for economic matters, told IANS, "We have garnered across the board views on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)" -- both for and against it".
The report has been sent to the BJP president, who would be taking it up with the government, he said and added, the Prime Minister would take the final decision.
Given the central government's approach to the FTA, the SJM threatened to hold protests between October 10 and October 20 across the country. It prompted the top BJP leadership to attempt a 'damage control' and it asked General Secretary B.L. Santosh and Gopal to find a way out. On October 7, they had meetings with representatives of various industry organisations and the SJM.
An attempt is being made to reach FTA with the RCEP partner countries -- India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand -- and 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal is in Bangkok to attend the ninth minister-level meeting of the RCEP, scheduled on October 11-12. It's the last minister-level meeting before the third Summit on November 4.
The SJM believes the country is reeling under economic crisis and after this agreement countries, like China, will start dumping products in India, which will ruin the Indian industries and widen the job crisis.
Ashwini Mahajan, SJM National Co-coordinator, on October 10 tweeted: "China is selling 17 crore bicycles, while India is able to sell only 1.70 crore bicycles. In this situation, if India allows China a free trade through the RCEP than the bicycle industry of Punjab will be ruined".
(Navneet Mishra can be contacted at navneet.m@ians.in)

--IANS hindi-rs/pcj

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