India has decided to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement over India’s concerns not being addressed in the deal.
According to sources in the government, India has decided not to join RCEP and PM Narendra Modi has stood firm on the issue that India’s concerns were not addressed in the agreement. Sources said the RCEP agreement with China and Asean countries does not reflect “its original intent” and the outcome is “not fair or balanced”.
In his speech at the ongoing RCEP summit in Bangkok, PM Modi said, India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. India has been pro-actively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. India has worked for the cherished objective of striking balance, in the spirit of give and take.”
“Today, when we look around we see during seven years of RCEP negotiations, many things, including the global economic and trade scenarios have changed. We cannot overlook these changes. The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirt and the agreed guiding principles of RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns In such a situation, it is not possible for India to join RCEP Agreement,” PM Modi added.
Sources said China was forcefully pushing for inking the deal during the RCEP summit on Monday, which was seen as an attempt to counter-balance the impact of its lingering trade war with the US as well as to project the region’s economic might to the West.
However, sources have said India has firmly stood its ground against signing up for the agreement.
The proposed free-trade agreement includes 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and six of the bloc’s dialogue partners — China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
If finalised, the RCEP would have become the world’s largest free trade area, comprising half of the world population and account for nearly 40 per cent of the global commerce and 35 per cent of the GDP.
The RCEP negotiations were launched by ASEAN leaders and the six other countries during the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in November 2012. The objective of launching RCEP negotiations was to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN member states and its FTA partners.
(With PTI and ANI inputs)
Source – India Today