A day after RCEP, Jaishankar slams trade pacts, globalisation

Raw deal:In the name of openness, we have allowed unfair production advantages from abroad, Mr. Jaishankar said.ap  

India has allowed other countries ‘unfair’ trade and manufacturing advantages “in the name of openness”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar asserted in a speech criticising globalisation on Monday. Speaking just a day after the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed, Mr. Jaishankar was particularly scathing of trade agreements.

“In the name of openness, we have allowed subsidised products and unfair production advantages from abroad to prevail. And all the while, this was justified by the mantra of an open and globalised economy,” Mr. Jaishankar said at the Deccan Dialogue conference supported by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Without directly referring to the RCEP, the trading bloc that India decided to walk out of a year ago, Mr. Jaishankar said that the government had decided to move away from trading arrangements, towards an “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India) policy where India could decide the rules and consolidate “comprehensive national power”.

“The effect of past trade agreements has been to deindustrialise some sectors. The consequences of future ones would lock us into global commitments, many of them not to our advantage. Those who argue stressing openness and efficiency do not present the full picture,” Mr. Jaishankar said. India was not “turning its back on the world” but strengthening itself.

The minister’s comments indicate that India is not considering an offer from RCEP nations to rejoin the group.