Asean delegation to visit India next week to discuss RCEP negotiations
Asean members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – are keen on finalising RCEP in time for a summit in November.Updated: Jul 07, 2019 07:18 IST
A delegation led by Association of East Asian Nations (Asean) secretary general Lim Jock Hoi will visit New Delhi next week for talks aimed at nudging India to speed up negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), people familiar with developments said.
Asean members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – are keen on finalising RCEP in time for a summit in November. RCEP also comprises Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
The visit comes close on the heels of a push from some quarters for the finalisation of RCEP by an “Asean + 3” grouping, leaving Australia, India and New Zealand to join the free trade pact at a later date.
The Asean delegation will assess India’s commitment to the early conclusion of the negotiations so that the pact can be inked by year end, the people cited above said.
A section of Indian policy-makers are in favour of concluding the deal in view of the larger markets that RCEP will open up, though the people said the final decision will be made by the political establishment.
Negotiations on RCEP began during the Asean Summit in Cambodia in November 2012, and once concluded, will lead to the largest regional trade bloc accounting for 30% of global commerce.
Last year, New Delhi had asked for the deadline to be moved to 2019 in view of elections in Australia, India, Indonesia and Thailand.