15 Asia-Pacific countries including China, Japan, and Australia will finalize the world’s biggest trade deal, after India backs out, this weekend.
New Delhi: A common consensus has been reached on RCEP — Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by 15 Asia-Pacific nations led by China. They have agreed to sign the world’s largest free trade agreement without the involvement of India. The trade agreement is expected to be signed this weekend, after New Delhi’s concerns haven’t got addressed. Experts believe that RCEP will be much larger than African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in both size and value.
A series of trade discussions have been going on among 16 nations including India since 2012 to come to a negotiation conclusion. The fourth season of the RCEP summit on Sunday might witness the signing of the world’s biggest trade deal. Apart from the 10 ASEAN nations — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, the five big economies that will be part of the deal are Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
New Delhi, which has been a participant in the RCEP negotiations since the beginning, feared it becoming a back-door channel for China to dump its goods in India. However, many experts believe that India missed the train to a vast FTA, which might have given Indian companies exposure to shine and nurture themselves by competing with global players.
Talking about Japan, It will be the country’s first free trade deal that includes China as well as South Korea. There is no doubt Japanese companies will be benefitted as they have strong manufacturing bases many of these countries.
“Our position is known. As far as India is concerned, we did not join RCEP as it does not address our outstanding issues and concerns”, said MEA’s secretary (east) Riva Ganguly Das.
The free trade pact, which is expected to be the world’s biggest trade deal of its kind, represents about one-third of the global economy and one-fourth of the total international trade.