India resonates with countries like the UK, EU, Australia, and the US in terms of democracy and rule of law, the Union Minister said

Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday once again said that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was not a balanced agreement as it would have hurt India's farmers, MSMEs, dairy industry and therefore, it was prudent for India not to join the RCEP.

He was speaking at World Economic Forum’s Global Trade Outlook Session. The Union Minister said India is looking forward to the trade and investment negotiations and the potential they hold for economic growth and prosperity for the people of India, the UK and the countries of the EU.

He said India resonates with the countries and entities like the UK, EU, Australia, Canada and the US, in terms of democracy, transparency, rule of law, independence of courts, investment rules. Moreover, Indian trade with them is by and large balanced.

The Union Minister said India cannot accept the agenda of a limited set of countries, as lopsided trading arrangements, subsidy arrangements and benefits that the developed world is enjoying has to be addressed with more compassion and more sincerity at the WTO.

He said that the agenda of the world will have to be addressed fairly, equitably & in the true spirit of the WTO.

On the issue of Covid-19, the Union Minister said India today is experiencing the 2nd wave of pandemic, magnitude of this wave being severe.

He said that India is fighting the pandemic boldly. The Government has ramped up procurement of critical supplies, distribution of oxygen supplies across states & is ensuring real-time monitoring.

He also mentioned about Railways having commenced “Oxygen express”- trains to carry Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) across the country to meet oxygen deficits, and India continuing its vaccination drive on a war footing.

He said India seeks to be an integral part of the resilient global supply chains. Even during the first wave of the pandemic, the country fulfilled all its international commitments and obligations.

Appreciating the support extended by countries to India in these challenging times, Goyal said that the countries must facilitate export of COVID-19 related health products to countries that urgently require these for saving precious lives.

He said that this is especially relevant for vaccines. Urging the countries to share vaccines liberally with those who are in dire need of it, Goyal said that global solidarity is the need of the hour.

The Union Minister said to overcome this crisis much faster, “we need not only the acceptance of the TRIPS waiver, but also expeditious consensus building, transfer of technology & availability of the raw materials to make this happen.”

He said the US has given limited support for vaccines patent issue, “which we heartily welcome, and that is the pressing need of today.”

He said that under the circumstances, speed is of essence, as this will allow all to meet the objective of equitable, timely and affordable access for all to vaccines, therapeutics and other goods required to deal with COVID-19 pandemic.