Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Wednesday said that India did not sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, last week because it would have had “immediate negative consequences” for the country’s economy, PTI reported.

The foreign minister also said that several key concerns of India were not addressed by the trade agreement. “We had to then take a call whether you enter a trade agreement if your major concerns are not addressed or do you take a call saying this is not in my interest,” Jaishankar said during a virtual discussion.

Jaishankar added: “We took a call that given the way it [the agreement] is currently, it is not in our interest to enter this agreement because it would have fairly immediate negative consequences for our own economy.”

The foreign minister said that India was, however, looking at a “fair and balanced” free trade agreement with the European Union. “I recognise that an FTA [free trade agreement] with Europe is not an easy negotiation, probably in the world, it must be the most difficult negotiation,” Jaishankar said, according to the news agency. “It is a very high standard FTA.”

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