Tuesday January 28, 2020
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India Decides Against Joining 16-Nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Mega Trade Agreement

India has worked for the cherished objective of striking balance, in the spirit of give and take

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India, Nation, Regional
He pointed out that India has been proactively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. Pixabay

India on Monday decided against joining the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) mega trade agreement, saying the present form of the deal “does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the RCEP summit here, outlined India’s concerns and said, “It is not possible for India to join the RCEP Agreement”.

He said India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. He pointed out that India has been proactively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. India has worked for the cherished objective of striking balance, in the spirit of give and take.”

However, in the seven years since the negotiations over RCEP were began, “many things, including the global economic and trade scenarios have changed. We cannot overlook these changes. The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns.”

India, Nation, Regional
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the RCEP summit here, outlined India’s concerns and said, “It is not possible for India to join the RCEP Agreement”. Pixabay

Modi said Indian farmers, traders, professionals and industries have stakes in such decisions. Equally important are the workers and consumers, who make India a huge market and the third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.

“When I measure the RCEP Agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permits me to loin RCEP.”

The other 15 nations in a statement said they have concluded text-based negotiations for all the 20 chapters and all their market access issues. They have been tasked to do the legal scrubbing so that the deal can be signed in 2020.

“India has significant issues, which remain unresolved. All RCEP participating countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues,” the RCEP statement said.

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According to sources, India was not shying away from opening up to global competition across sectors but had made a strong case for an outcome which is favourable to all countries and all sectors.

India has also rejected the suggestion that it is making “last minute demands” at RCEP. India’s position on this issue has been consistent and clear from the very beginning, sources said.

The sources said that India’s decision not to join the China-led deal will greatly help India’s farmers, MSMEs and the dairy sector.

They said that India’s stand is a mixture of pragmatism, the urge to safeguard the interests of the poor and the effort to give an advantage to India’s services sector.

India, Nation, Regional
He said India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. Pixabay

Some issues on which India made its stance clear included the threat of circumvention of Rules of Origin due to Tariff Differential. India pushed for a fair agreement which addressed the issues of trade deficits and opening of services. India also asked for safeguard mechanisms to prevent against import surges and safeguard the interests of domestic industry.

India also raised the unviability of Most Favoured Nation obligations where India would be forced to give similar benefits to RCEP countries that it gave to others. There was also no credible assurance for India on market access and non-tariff barriers. India also had very valid concerns on keeping 2014 as the base year for tariff reductions.

India played on the front foot, stressing the need to address its concerns over trade deficits and the need for other countries to open their markets to Indian services and investments, the sources added.

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among the 10-member states of the ASEAN — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam — and its six FTA partners China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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RCEP member-states account for 3.4 billion people with a total Gross Domestic Product of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP, with the combined GDPs of China and India making up more than half that amount. (IANS)

Next Story

Novel Coronavirus: Government Deploys Health Team on Nepal Border

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there

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Coronavirus
The Coronavirus outbreak, which has so far caused 41 deaths in China, and caused the country to quarantine 16 cities, is causing comparisons to the 2003 spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which decreased the value of the global economy by $40 billion. VOA

In the wake of a confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Nepal, the Union Health Ministry has subsequently strengthened its vigil in the areas bordering Nepal.

The recent deployment of health team has taken place at Panitanki in West Bengal, entry point from Nepal, said the Health Ministry on Monday.

“Update on #ncov2020 – Subsequent to confirmed #coronarvirus case in #Nepal, vigil strengthened at Panitanki (West Bengal) entry point from Nepal,” the ministry tweeted.

Earlier on Sunday the ministry had informed that in response to confirmed case of the new virus in the neighbourhood country Nepal, India stepped up vigil in districts bordering Nepal. The health ministry said that teams of medical experts were also deployed at border outpost with Nepal at Jhulaghat and Jauljibi in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand.

Coronavirus
Southeast Asia’s proximity to China and dependence on that nation for a major share of its economy is raising concerns that the coronavirus outbreak  that started there will not only have health impacts but harm the region’s economies. VOA

In continuation of its efforts to stop the virus from entering in India and making the passengers aware, the ministry has also displayed signage advising the passengers for self reporting and other precautions, disseminated through advisories, at the Mumbai airport.

According to the health ministry, a total of 29,707 passengers from 137 flights have been screened. Fortunately, no case of coronavirus has been found till date.

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According to the announcement made by Chinese health authorities on Monday, 2,744 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), including 461 in critical condition and a total of 5,794 suspected cases have also been reported. The killer virus has caused 80 deaths in China, as per Chinese authorities.

Many Indian students studying in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak have been stuck there. The health ministry said it is working closely with the Ministry of External Affairs and is in touch with the students. (IANS)