Trade ministers of RCEP to hold key meet next week

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Published: October 3, 2019 3:19:28 AM

Having earlier shown reluctance due to fears of dumping by China, India could endorse the RCEP deal, but to protect domestic industry, it may agree to trim or remove tariffs on Chinese goods in five phases over a 20-year period.

RCEP, Piyush Goyal, RCEP deal, Chinese goods, trade war, New Zealand, BangkokCommerce and industry Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the meeting next week.

Trade ministers of the 16-nation RCEP grouping will meet in Bangkok on October 10-12, in what could be the last ministerial before a potential deal is sealed in November, an official source told FE. Commerce and industry Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the meeting next week. Technical negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal were over when chief negotiators of various countries met in Vietnam last week after 28 rounds of talks. Commerce and industry Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the meeting next week.

Having earlier shown reluctance due to fears of dumping by China, India could endorse the RCEP deal, but to protect domestic industry, it may agree to trim or remove tariffs on Chinese goods in five phases over a 20-year period. Similarly, India’s tariff concessions would be the least ambitious for China — it plans to reduce or abolish import duties on a total of 80% of imports from China, against 86% from New Zealand and Australia, and 90% from Asean, Japan and South Korea, sources recently told FE.

Also read| India, US will fix their trade disputes: S Jaishankar

Trade analysts and economists have highlighted the importance of India joining the RCEP to better integrate with the global value chain and improve its trade competitiveness. But several domestic industries – including steel and pharma – have strongly resisted any such deal on fears that cheap Chinese products, diverted from the US due to the ongoing trade war, will flood our markets. The dairy industry, including players like Amul, are opposing any such deal with New Zealand, a major dairy producer and exporter.

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