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India Opts Out Of RCEP

The Government of India has said that the country will not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal, stating that joining the deal would adversely impact the national interest. The Government decision was in the backdrop of concerns raised by domestic industry and farmers, majority of who were against the pact, fearing it would lead to uncontrollable dumping by China.

Terming the move as a right decision, the Ministry of External Affairs has stated that the deal was to address significant issues of core interest and it would have impacted the livelihood of the vulnerable sections of the society.

However, 15 other nations gave their nod to join the RCEP deal after the conclusion of the 14th East Asia Summit in Bangkok. The member nations have left the doors open for India, as it still remains the largest untapped consumer and industrial market in the RCEP bloc. The joint statement released stated that – “All RCEP countries will work together to resolve the outstanding issues of India with the deal in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues”.

Industrialists in the country welcomed the Government’s decision. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) appreciated the Government’s stance on addressing all outstanding issues before joining the RCEP.





Import Cap for China Free to raise tariff on Chinese goods beyond a certain threshold.
More trade in Services Cross-border movement of Indian IT and medical workers, and teachers.
Market access assurance Preferential access for Indian goods in China and ASEAN market.
2019 tariff base year Tariffs would have been slapped on prevailing duties in 2019, others wanted 2014.
No MFN Commitment India would also have to give similar access.


The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its five (formerly six) FTA partners (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia. In 2017, the 16 prospective signatories accounted for a population of 3.4 billion people with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP, PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP.

RCEP has been criticized by free culture activists for containing “quite simply the worst provisions on copyright ever seen in a trade agreement.” Global health care activists have criticized the agreement for potentially forcing India to end its cheap supply of generic medications to poor countries. It is also being propagated as a means for China to sell it cheap goods as it opens up huge market.

SOURCE: Business Standard

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