RCEP making strides

Topics related to the preparation and follow-up negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — touted as the largest free trade area in the world — are likely to be on the table when Southeast Asia’s economic ministers meet during the 20th ASEAN Economic Ministers Retreat in Singapore on Thursday.
The RCEP, which comprises the 10 ASEAN member nations as well as China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, would integrate all of ASEAN’s existing free-trade agreements into one scheme….
The next RCEP negotiation round is scheduled to be held in China in April.
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1-22-14   NEW DELHI: India plans to stick to its strategy of protecting its domestic industry as it faces China in the regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) grouping by proposing separate product lines and tariff structures for the member countries during the third round of negotiations in Malaysia that aim to conclude an agreement by next year….
India had a $39-billion trade deficit with China last year, a situation that the government fears could get worse if it were to ink an FTA with the manufacturing powerhouse. However, RCEP is an important negotiation for India since it could be left out of the region. “We cannot stay out of it. But we have to protect our interests too. It is a good opportunity to integrate our value chains,” the official added.

The government is holding consultations with the industry, which is against opening up the market to Chinese goods. Arpita Mukherjee of Icrier agrees that India needs to proceed with care at the RCEP.     http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-01-22/news/46463072_1_rcep-regional-comprehensive-economic-partnership-fta

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