RCEP: India has a year to be part of trade deal but chances dim

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NEW DELHI: India will have a year to be part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership but chances of it joining the grouping are dim as India has significant outstanding issues which are unlikely to be resolved within the stipulated time.

“We welcomed the report presented by ministers on the outcomes of the RCEP negotiations. We noted 15 RCEP participating countries have concluded text-based negotiations for all 20 chapters and essentially all their market access issues and tasked legal scrubbing by them to commence for signing in 2020. 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 a joint statement after the RCEP summit in Bangkok on Monday.

Secretary (East), MEA, Vijay Thakur Singh at a press conference in Bangkok said: “In the given circumstances, we believe not joining the agreement is the right decision. This reflects both our assessment of current global situation and of the fairness and balance of the agreement.”

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in Bangkok that India was welcome to join RCEP whenever it was ready. “It’s the 15 nations that have decided to move forward first,” Le said. “There won’t be any problem for the 15 nations to sign RCEP next year,” he added. “Whenever India is ready, it’s welcome to get onboard.”

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