Modi undid damage started by the Congress govt, says JP Nadda on RCEP

New Delhi [India], Nov 9 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) working president JP Nadda on Saturday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has undone the damage started by the Congress-led UPA government.

"He (Modi) has undone the damage started by the Congress-led UPA government which first explored a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in 2007 and then joined the RCEP negotiations with fifteen countries including China in 2011-12," Nadda said in a statement.

He said under the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has ensured that the country's interests are not compromised.

"Congress had hurriedly finalised very weak FTAs with ASEAN and South Korea in 2010 and Malaysia and Japan in 2011 opening Indian markets to imports with very little benefits in return," Nadda said.

The BJP working president said that during the UPA government between 2004 and 2014, India's trade deficit with these countries increased 11 fold from $7 billion in 2004 to $78 billion in 2014.

"The Indian negotiators did not accept a bad deal on any issue and ensured that the concerns of India, particularly over the trade deficit and better market opportunities for Indian goods were put forth very strongly. Since several issues remained unresolved until today, Modi decided India will not join RCEP," he said.

Nadda said that the decision was taken by the Prime Minister to protect the interest of India's MSMEs, dairy, farmers, pharmaceutical, steel, chemical and other manufacturing sectors against unfair imports.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has upheld Mahatma Gandhi's principles and not accepted a deal which did not safeguard the interests of the poor. He is recognized the world over as a 'tough negotiator' and he has once again demonstrated his resolve to protect the interest of the people of India at all times," Nadda added.

India had backed out from RCEP, upholding that the country remains committed to a comprehensive and balanced outcome of negotiations and seeks balance across goods, services and investments and also within each pillar.

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of ASEAN and six FTA partners. (ANI)