NEW DELHI: Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday took a jibe at Congress party over its leaders stand on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In a tweet, Javadekar said internal contradiction and confusion in senior leadership of Congress on RCEP has been exposed .
"Internal contradiction and confusion in senior leadership in Congress on critical issues exposed on yet another issue - RCEP. While yesterday @AnandSharmaINC termed India's decision of not joining RCEP as unfortunate, @Jairam_Ramesh on the other hand endorsed India's exit from RCEP," Javadekar said in a tweet.
Terming India's decision of not joining RCEP as unfortunate, Congress leader Anand Sharma in a tweet on Tuesday said, "India's decision of not joining Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is unfortunate and ill advised. It is in India's strategic and economic interests to be a part of the process of Asia-Pacific integration."
"Withdrawal has negated years of persuasive negotiations for India to be accepted as part of RCEP. We could have negotiated safeguards to protect our interests. Keeping out of the RCEP is a backward leap," he added.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, "On Oct 21 2019 I had described India's imminent membership of RCEP as 3rd jhatka for the economy after demonetisation & botched GST. A year later the position @INCIndia took then in demanding that the PM not drag India into an unfair RCEP, as was being planned, stands vindicated."
In November last year, India decided not to join the RCEP agreement as its key concerns were not addressed. The key reasons behind New Delhi's decision to remain out of the world's biggest trade agreement include inadequate protection against import surge, insufficient differential with China, possible circumvention of rules of origin, keeping the base year as 2014 and no credible assurances on market access and non-tariff barriers.
The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) namely, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam and five of ASEAN's FTA partners -- Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
In May this year, China said it will welcome India back to negotiations on the RCEP at an appropriate time.