India will never finalize any trade agreement in a hurry and the focus will be on India first in any such negotiation, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Railways Piyush Goyal said. India is exploring trade agreements with the United States and the European Union (EU), where Indian industry and services will benefit from access to large markets.
Throughout the seven year-long negotiations in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), India consistently stood its ground to uphold its demands, he said. The demands were particularly over controlling trade deficit, stronger protection against unfair imports and better market opportunities for Indian goods and services, an official release quoted the Minister as saying.
He said India’s economic interests and national priorities come first and the concerns of the farmers, dairy sector, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and domestic manufacturing will be addressed and these sectors will be protected.
The opening up of the Indian market must be matched by openings in areas where the country’s businesses can benefit and India will not allow its market to become a dumping ground for goods from other countries, said the Minister. Free trade agreements (FTAs) with Japan, South Korea and countries in Southeast Asia are being reviewed, he added.