India to host 2-day meeting of RCEP members this weekend

12/09/2019    24

Will protect national interest and the domestic industry, promises Goyal

India will host a two-day meeting of representatives from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries this month to discuss ideas to strengthen the proposed pact between the 16 partner countries, said Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

“Representatives from all 16 countries will attend the meeting India is hosting on September 14-15. The idea is to discuss India's suggestions to make it a more robust mechanism,” Goyal said addressing a press conference.

RCEP, which is being negotiated between the 10-member ASEAN, India, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, when implemented is likely to result in the largest trade bloc in the world accounting for 30 per cent of world trade and more than a fourth of world GDP.

New Delhi is also engaged in bilateral discussions with members, including China, New Zealand and Australia, to protect its sensitive sectors.

The Minister acknowledged that there were certain sectors that could get adversely hit by competition from China once duties are lowered under RCEP, but assured that their concerns would be taken care of.

“We will protect our national interest and interests of our domestic industry,” Goyal said.

The Minister pointed out that there were also sectors in India that were eager for the RCEP to be signed. “The representatives of the pharmaceuticals and cotton textiles believe that the RCEP will give them access to the Chinese markets,” he said.

India could also make substantial gains in services under the RCEP, the Minister added. However, so far India has not got substantial offers in the sector.

The problem that India has faced in the negotiations so far is the lack of parity in ambitions with other members. While India wants to protect a number of sectors, both industrial and agricultural, from stiff tariff cuts, other members including ASEAN and China are seeking zero-tariffs in over 90

Since most RCEP members want the pact to be concluded this year, the Minister said that India would not want the discussions to be prolonged if its concerns were met.

Nguồn: Business Line