Touted as the world's biggest trade deal, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proposes a free trade agreement (FTA) between 10 ASEAN nations with the six Asia-Pacific states, which include India also.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) meet has now been deferred till next year. However, India heaved a sigh of relief, as it can now negotiate with China for a better trade deal between the two countries. The negotiation is a part of the ongoing deal for the proposed mega trade deal - RCEP.
Touted as the world's biggest trade deal, RCEP proposes a free trade agreement (FTA) between 10 ASEAN nations with the six Asia-Pacific states, which include India also.
The trade deal negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN summit in Cambodia, and it was expected to be signed in November this year.
However, the next RCEP round is scheduled in Indonesia in February 2019 and the meeting of trade ministers in Bangkok in April next year.
“The pressure is still on India to improve its goods offers to RCEP members, including China. The going will be tough for us in 2019 as members don’t seem ready for a low ambitions pact,” an official was quoted as saying to BusinessLine.
Indian negotiators are positive about the extra year that they have got to seal the deal as they hope to get a better deal on services and cover all sensitive areas in goods in the best manner possible, another official said.
According to a report by Businessline, India will have to end tariffs on over 90 per cent of the items for Japan and Korea, with which it has free trade agreements (FTAs); for China, New Zealand and Australia (non-FTA countries), tariffs have to be eliminated on about 80 per cent items.
“India’s main concern is about dealing with China as the Indian industry is already struggling to cope with an influx of goods from the country and the bilateral trade deficit is widening every year.”
China’s trade surplus with India was over $60 billion last year.
RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement which includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.
Source: Businessline, media reports