India has not closed door on China-backed Asian trade deal – foreign minister

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Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar speaks to the media after the 2019 U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue at the State Department in Washington, U.S., December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Robert/File Phoyo

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has not closed the door on a China-led regional economic pact, even though Asia’s third-largest country pulled out of the deal last November, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

In November, China joined 14 countries in agreeing terms for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with India pulling out at the last minute saying the deal would hurt its farmers, businesses, workers and consumers.

RCEP brings together the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“Where RCEP is concerned, we have to look at cost and benefit. We will evaluate RCEP on its economic and trade merit. We have not closed our mind to it,” Jaishankar said.

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