The sixth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Ministers’ Meeting was held in Singapore. Indian delegation was led by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu.
This RCEP Trade Ministers’ Meeting will see participation of representatives from 10 ASEAN countries and six ASEAN FTA partners namely, India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. They will give guidance to the Trade Negotiating Committee of RCEP to enable negotiations move forward. India has been constructively engaged in RCEP negotiations with aim to work towards a high quality, balanced and inclusive outcomes that take into consideration sensitivities and interests of member countries.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
RCEP is a proposed proposed free trade agreement (FTA) or comprehensive regional economic integration agreement between the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea).
The negotiations for this mega trade deal were formally launched at 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. It aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights under its ambit.
Till 2017, 16 RCEP member states accounted for population of 3.4 billion people with total GDP (in terms of PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 38% of the world’s GDP (combined GDPs of China and India makes up more than half that amount) and 29% of world trade.
ASEAN is amongst the fastest growing markets in the world and presents substantial trade and investments opportunities for India. It has emerged as second largest trade partner of India in 2017-18 with bilateral trade valued at US $ 81.33 billion, comprising 10.58% of India’s total trade with the world. RCEP is viewed as alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.