The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, involving India, ASEAN and its six free trade agreement (FTA) partners, is expected to be completed this year, an official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said today. “India is actively engaged in the negotiations for RCEP involving ASEAN and its six FTA partners. It is in the concluding stage,” said Anurag Bhushan, joint secretary (ASEAN-multilateral), at an ICC session.
The agreement will give India free trade access to the ASEAN partners thereby increasing the country’s exports, he added. Bhushan said that once finalised, it will be the largest regional trading arrangement in the world and the outcome is to be a balanced and comprehensive agreement across the key pillars of goods, services and investments. The ASEAN bloc is India’s fourth largest trading partner accounting for 10.2 per cent of the total trade.
The MEA official said a government’s corpus fund of Rs 500 crore has been formed for making domestic companies a part of the regional value chains and production networks for the purpose of catalysing Indian economic projects in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.