NEW DELHI: Apex exporters' body EEPC India recently cautioned Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu against any trade liberalising broader Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) framework with a pre-dominant presence of China through ASEAN.
"In order to understand India's present trade position with all the RCEP partners, we have also conducted a Balance of Trade (BoT) analysis which clearly shows that India has been consistently maintaining trade deficits with most of the trading partners.
"In the case of China, the trade deficit is much higher than the combined deficit India is having with all other RCEP member nations," EEPC India Regional Chairman (NR) Kamna Raj Aggarwalla said in a presentation to the Minister.
RCEP is a proposed comprehensive regional economic integration agreement amongst the 10 ASEAN countries including Brunei, Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, with its six Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) partners- Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Korea and India.
EEPC cautioned that India's concerns arise from a large trade deficit of about USD 50 billion or more it runs with China.
"Cheap and inferior quality imports mainly from China is also a major concern of Indian industry. Therefore China's presence in the RCEP framework is a major threat for the Indian domestic engineering industry. India has to be firm and calculative in terms of taking strong stand in case of China as it is working tirelessly on capacity building of its domestic industries," EEPC India said.