RCEP enters final phase, to be signed without India: Trade Ministry

19/08/2020    15

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has entered the legal scrubbing phase and is expected to be signed soon without India, the Trade Ministry has said.

The participating countries now comprise the ASEAN member states, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

“The participating countries will keep the door open for India in case it decides to rejoin the trade deal in the future, because its participation will be important on political, economic and Asian solidarity fronts,” Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga said in a statement on Thursday.

India withdrew from RCEP negotiations in November last year because of concerns about its growing trade deficit with China. The situation worsened after the Indian army said at least 20 of its soldiers had been killed in clashes with Chinese troops at a disputed border site between the two countries in June.

India is Indonesia's fifth-largest export market. Indonesia’s top export to its South Asian peer is coal, with value reaching US$4.81 billion in 2019, according to data from the United Nations International Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade). Its next biggest exports to the country are palm oil, stainless steel and rubber. This makes India the second-largest buyer of Indonesian coal and palm oil.

India is also an important import partner as it accounted for 35 percent of Indonesia’s total beef imports in 2019.

Source: The Jakarta Post