RCEP to meet again as India fails to agree on a common ground

The RCEP – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership hosted meeting on October 11 and 12, 2019 in Xinhua Thailand. The trade ministers of 16 nations met and discussed on economic affairs in the region. However, due to India’s tough stand on market access, e – commerce and investment the grouping will meet once again.

RCEP includes 10 members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and six Asia – Pacific countries that includes Australia, India, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

India’s Demands

  • India wants its concerns on investment, e – commerce, taxation, MSME and policies framed by local bodies to be reworked before it signs the deal.
  • India wants its Chinese imports to be checked via automatic safeguards
  • It demanded favorable rules on investments
  • The Policy changes on Indian Taxation System should not be challenged
  • The policies framed for local bodies should not be questioned
  • E – Commerce talks are still underway with Japan and needs to be addressed.

Highlights

  • Negotiators to sort differences by October 19 ahead of November 4 (The RCEP Summit)
  • India participated in deliberations to promote trade and investment to achieve mutual economic growth. Out of 25 deliberations, 6 are remaining. It includes e – commerce, investment, trade remedies, competition and rules of origin
  • A TNC – Trade Negotiations Committee is to be set up.

Issue

There is strong opposition against RCEP in India by the domestic constituencies like diary cooperatives (Amul), farmer organizations, industrial sectors and civil society organizations. This is mainly because, they fear that the Indian market will be flooded by cheap Chinese goods and farm items, especially from New Zealand and Australia.

The GoI has asked to keep the commerce ministry out of dairy sector out of the proposed RCEP free trade pact. This is because opening of free trade in dairy sector will affect farmers in India, the largest producer of milk.

 

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