Trade ministers of 16 countries, including India, China and Japan, will meet early next month to review the progress in Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and resolve issues holding back the talks.
“There is going to be a ministerial meeting early November in the Philippines,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters here.
She said that in the last round of talks in China, all the countries discussed in detail goods, services and investment chapters.
“In RCEP, we have gone into greater details, we are looking at offers made by other countries,” she added.
There are several issues, including the proposed single-tier system of tariff relaxation and matters pertaining to services sector, which need intervention at the ministerial level.
RCEP is a mega trade deal which aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.
The talks for the pact started in Phnom Penh in November 2012. The 16 countries account for over a quarter of the world’s economy, estimated to be more than USD 75 trillion.
India already has FTAs with the ASEAN grouping, Japan and South Korea.
The 16-member bloc RCEP 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.
Further, talking about import of crackers, she said the ministry has urged the state to act strictly on people who illegally import firecrackers.
“We are not giving any
import permission. No license have been given till now, so nobody can import. If the import is coming, it is illegal,” she said.
Sitharaman said that customs as well as states have been asked to take action against people who illegally import firecrackers.
“3-4 consignments this time, we have confiscated and ordered to destroy it..we request state to take action,” she added.
When asked about increasing imports from China, she said that India can not impose a blanket ban on all the imports from one country.