The government has called for expediting the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in the country’s interest, particularly after the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Addressing the session on Asean-India Relations at the 8th edition of Delhi Dialogue VIII, Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) MEA said, “Negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have moved satisfactorily, with modalities being agreed in August 2015.”
“If the technical negotiations which are underway are completed swiftly, RCEP may turn into a dynamic reality very soon, particularly if we succeed in forming regional value chains and production networks. With the TPP becoming a reality, expediting RCEP is in our interest,” he said.
The US, Japan and 10 other Pacific-Rim nations recently concluded the TPP agreement described as largest regional trade pact in history. RCEP negotiations were launched in Phnom Penh in November. The 16 countries account for over a quarter of the world’s economy, estimated to be more than $75 trillion.
According to the MEA secretary, enhancing India-ASEAN trade is a priority area under the new plan of action to implement the ASEAN-India partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity (2016-20). The plan of action envisages a number of steps in the areas of trade and investment, finance, transport, food, agriculture, forestry, information and communication technology, tourism, science, technology and innovation and mining & natural resources management.
Wadhwa said the ASEAN-India Trade Negotiating Committee has been tasked to undertake review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement, which came into effect on January 1, 2010, noting that the review will help optimise its utilisation and bring it up-to-date with today’s standards. Stressing on deeper ASEAN-India collaboration, Wadhwa said: “We need to undertake capacity building programmes, workshops and seminars that focus on the ASEAN-India FTA, Rules of Origin, services liberalisation, regulatory aspects of ecommerce, elimination of non-tariff barriers, competition policy and intellectual property rights, SME cooperation and promotion”.