New Delhi: Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal has raised concerns about non-tariff barriers a week after India pulled out of the China-led RCEP – a free trade agreement involving Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and six other countries.

In a likely reference to China’s stubbornness on not providing market access in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Indian Commerce Minister has taken a dig at the nation.

Indian Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said the growing trend of non-tariff barriers leads to economic uncertainty.

“Interacted with BRICS trade ministers and spoke about growing trend of non-tariff barriers, which deny market access, lead to economic uncertainty and raise cost of doing trade for developing countries especially MSMEs. Thus, a win-win mindset is needed to spur trade & promote equity,” the Indian commerce minister said while addressing the BRICS summit in Brazil.

India pulled out of the deal as China denied open market access to which the Indian side disagreed. India later also announced it will renegotiate all South East Asian Free Trade Agreements in its favour, as India is currently suffering from massive trade deficits.

Goyal is also set to meet his US counterpart Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday for trade talks. 

During the RCEP talks, China wanted India to eliminate tariffs on 74% of items. In 2018-19, Chinese imports to India accounted for $70 billion while India’s exports to the country were $16 billion – indicating a staggering $54 billion trade deficit. India has been seeking greater market access from China for products like sugar, rice and pharmaceuticals to minimise the trade deficit.