India claimed breakthrough in RCEP talks

Why in the news ?
  • Commerce Ministry officials said there was a breakthrough in understanding India’s concerns at the recently held meeting in Singapore on August 30-31.
  • Commerce and Industry Minister said that the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would not end in 2018, but will go on in 2019 as well.
  • RCEP bloc comprises 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
  • RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement.
  • Trade ministers of these 16 countries attended the 6th RCEP Ministerial meeting on August 30 and August 31 in Singapore.
  • According to the minister, the 16-nation group accepted some key demands from India: on differential tariff regimes for different country groups like China, and in allowing a 20-year implementation period of the agreement.
  • India was concerned about the free trade agreement with China as products from China may flood Indian markets and affect 'Make in India' project.
  • Another key area where India scored, according to officials, was in establishing a linkage between services and goods negotiations, given that some countries were not as welcoming of allowing movement of labour.
The Hindu, Indian Express.

Posted by Jawwad Kazi on 5th Sep 2018