- India has listed out the demands and raised specific bilateral trade issues with proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member countries.
- India has said that it will agree to the proposed RCEP pact only if partner countries like China resolve its trade deficit with India by providing more market access.
- India has said that it is already suffering from a trade deficit with most RCEP countries and the Indian industry fears such a deal would not make Indian products more competitive instead flood the Indian market with cheaper products from other member countries.
- India currently has $53.6 billion trade deficit with China and around $10.6 billion deficit with Indonesia and $12 billion with South Korea.India has also requested Thailand with which India has around $3 billion trade deficit to improve its offer in goods and services under RCEP.
- India has also sought Singapore’s support in operationalising the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) on nursing which was signed between the two countries in June 2018.India’s deficit with Singapore is around $4.7 billion.
- RCEP is proposed mega trade pact between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing Free trade agreements(FTA’s)(Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
- 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.
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