Bangkok meet: RCEP ministers to discuss e-commerce, trade remedies

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Published: October 10, 2019 7:55:50 PM

The upcoming meeting comes at a time when some sections of Indian industry have raised concerns over the presence of China in the grouping.

RCEP, ecommerce, Piyush Goyal, RCEP member countries, trade deficit, Bangkok meetThe Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between 10 ASEAN member states and their six trading partners.

Trade ministers of RCEP countries will discuss issues related to investment, e-commerce, rules of origin and trade remedies in a meeting in Bangkok on October 12, an official statement said on Thursday. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between 10 ASEAN member states and their six trading partners.

The upcoming meeting comes at a time when some sections of Indian industry have raised concerns over the presence of China in the grouping. Various sectors, including dairy, metals, electronics, and chemicals, have urged the government to not agree on duty cuts in these segments.

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“Crucial chapters of investment, electronic commerce, rules of origin and trade remedies are yet to be settled,” the commerce ministry said in a statement. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the ninth and the last RCEP intersessional ministerial meeting to be held on October 11-12 in Bangkok, Thailand.

“This will be the last Ministerial before the third Leaders Summit to be held on November in Bangkok. The Prime Minister of India is expected to attend the Summit,” it said. The ministerial meeting comes at a crucial stage where the RCEP is scheduled to be announced as concluded in November.

In the meeting, ministerial guidance will be sought on investment, e-commerce, rules of origin and trade remedies, it said adding Goyal will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Japan, Singapore, China, Australia and New Zealand.

In the run-up to the Bangkok meeting, the ministry has held several consultations with Indian industry for firming up India’s position and for taking into consideration industry concerns and sensitivities. The focus of these meetings was on putting in place appropriate safeguards including auto-trigger mechanism against sudden surge in imports from RCEP countries.

India registered a trade deficit in 2018-19 with as many as 11 RCEP member countries, including China, South Korea and Australia. The agreement aims to cover issues related to goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights. The RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), and Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

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