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India pursuing review of trade deals with Japan, Southeast Asian countries

India is seeking a review of its trade deals with Japan, South Korea and countries in Southeast Asia in an effort to boost its exports after pulling out of a regional trade agreement backed by China in November, Bloomberg News reported.

Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said Dec. 10 that the government wants to "correct the asymmetry in the existing agreements and maximize its export potential to benefit domestic industry and farmers," according to the report.

The Indian government asked Japan earlier in the day to resolve the trade imbalance between the two countries, Reuters reported. The request was made ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India on Dec. 15-16.

India refused to join the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact in November due to concerns that the deal would negatively affect its farmers and workers, and worsen its trade deficit with China.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng has said India is still welcome to join the RCEP. Japan, meanwhile, said it would not sign on to the trade pact unless India agreed to join.

The other RCEP members that intend to sign the trade deal are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.