RCEP: Leaders may show way ahead for RCEP

Economy


NEW DELHI: Leaders of the 16 Asia-Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement are likely to show the way forward for the finer details of the proposed pact in their joint statement on Monday, people in the know of the talks said. Talks for the pact are expected to conclude this week.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is visiting Thailand from November 2-4, will participate in various ASEAN related Summits including the ASEAN-India Summit, East Asia Summit and a meeting on RCEP negotiations.

A joint statement is expected to be released after the leaders’ scheduled summit on Monday.

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Sources said India has protected most of its sectors from opening up to other countries with dairy being completely out of the proposed pact whose talks are in final stages.

While some members have blamed India for slowing the talks, other including G-20 economies from South East Asia and East Asia are keen on India’s presence in RCEP amid apprehensions that its absence will enable China to dominate the trade bloc. India is seen as a balancing power in the bloc. New Delhi has been trying to balance its ties with Japan and China along with domestic interests especially with various industry sectors especially dairy opposing the proposed trade agreement.

India has said it wants a “win-win outcome” from the pact.

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, who is in Bangkok for the RCEP trade ministers meeting, met his counterparts from other RCEP members including Japan, Singapore and Australia there.

“Minister @PiyushGoyal engaged with partner countries at the Preparatory Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok and deliberated on promotion of trade and investment while safeguarding the interests of our domestic farmers and industries,” the minister’s office tweeted on Friday.



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