RCEP nations to intensify talks to conclude trade pact

  1. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) group agreed to intensify the ongoing negotiations for a proposed mega trade agreement to resolve all issues and conclude the pact in 2019.The progress of negotiations was reviewed during a meeting of all the trade ministers of in Cambodia.
  2. RCEP is proposed mega trade pact between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing Free trade agreements(FTA’s)(Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  3. It aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates. It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.
  4. India has repeatedly advocated that the agreement needs to be comprehensive in nature by addressing concerns of all participating countries.India is concerned about (a)trade pact will allow greater access to Chinese goods which may have an impact on the Indian manufacturing sector (b)There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to foreign goods in the Indian market.
  5. On the other hand, India has consistently focused on services trade norms,such as those allowing the free movement of trained professionals across national boundaries.