Asia on course for world’s largest trade deal
November 4, 2019 - The 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is pushing ahead as India, facing fierce domestic opposition to its market-opening requirements, stands aside.
Leaders of countries involved in the trade initiative said Monday that they had resolved differences but India was not in agreement. Seven years after talks began, the signing of a final deal was pushed back to next year.
India has balked at exposing its farmers and factories to more foreign competition, especially from China.
A statement issued after leaders met said, “India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved.”
It said talks would continue to try to mend those differences. India’s final decision “will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues.”
Indian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Garima Paul said that India isn’t out of RCEP.
The other RCEP members include the 10 nations belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
RCEP has the potential to be the world’s biggest trade pact, accounting for account for a third of global gross domestic product and nearly half the world’s population, Reuters said.
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