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RCEP trade deal hits snag over India’s demand

The 16 Asian and Oceanian countries involved in the regionwide RCEP trade deal have decided to delay the conclusion of that deal until next year.

Olivier Languepin

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RCEP negotiations hit a snag as India has grown wary of an expected influx of goods from China, with which the South Asian country runs a massive trade deficit.

“ India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved. All RCEP Participating Countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues. ” said the official statement, released Nov. 4th.

India has expressed concerns over the prospect of cheap and mass-produced Chinese products flooding the Indian market and has stalled plans to sign the world’s largest trade deal, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, during the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok.

The 16 Asian and Oceanian countries involved in the regionwide RCEP trade deal have decided to delay the conclusion of that deal until next year.

The 16 countries “are committed to sign the RCEP agreement in Vietnam,” where next year’s talks are set to take place, according to a joint statement released after the RCEP summit near Bangkok on Monday.

“Against the backdrop of a fast changing global environment, the completion of the RCEP negotiations will demonstrate our collective commitment to an open trade and investment environment across the region.  We are negotiating an agreement intended to expand further and deepen regional value chains for the benefit of our businesses, including small and medium enterprises, as well as our workers, producers and customers,” said the statement.

The leaders of ASEAN, Australia, China, India, Korea and New Zealand have indicated hope that the agreement can be signed next year.

Started in May 2013, RCEP comprises the 10 economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and six of its free trade partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea).

The regional economic integration, will lead to the creation of the largest regional trading bloc in the world, accounting for nearly 45% of the world’s population and with a combined gross domestic product of $21.3 trillion. 

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