India will continue to seek new markets through trade negotiations, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday. He also said the detractors of proposed trade deals should maintain silence until the framework is made public.
"India can't be isolated. You can't have a situation where you expect all the benefits of multilateralism but will not give any benefit to anyone," he said, at the launch of the report by High Level Advisory Group for Exports. Last week, Goyal spoke in favour of a bilateral trade agreement with the US.
While the government will never compromise on national security and national interest, Goyal said, that interest has to be decided in a broad way, without a myopic vision. Arguing that the textile industry is hurting in the absence of trade agreements, he said the government will seek to balance the interests of consumers with industry.
"We can't have inefficient industry lobbying against import and free trade agreements on the pretext that it'll affect them. Indian consumers can't be made to keep paying disproportionately high value for inefficiencies in a particular sector?" the minister said at the event organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Goyal also argued a targeted campaign is bent on derailing talks. "Unfortunately a narrative has been sought to be made in our country particularly by a small microcosm of few people, as if an international engagement that is being discussed at this stage, is going to kill India, its industry and farmers, This is based on completely baseless and nonsensical thoughts, and a kind of fear psychosis is sought to be created," he said.