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Wednesday, April 24 2024
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Will sign only fair, transparent RCEP, says India

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New Delhi: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Bangkok for the ASEAN summit from November 2-4, Indian negotiators are discussing critical aspects of the RCEP mega trade deal to ensure it is “fair and transparent”, before committing to sign it.

Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, said: “India will wait for the outcome of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Some critical issues are outstanding.”

“We will only participate in a fair and transparent trading environment,” she said at a media briefing here.

Indian officials have concluded negotiations on most of the 25 chapters, and the rest would be concluded before November 4, when Prime Minister Modi will join leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc and five other countries for the summit.

Indian officials are “narrowing the gaps” during their negotiations, including putting in adequate protection against cheap Chinese imports which are feared could flood the Indian market, once RCEP is concluded.

Differences over some areas, like rules of origin, e-commerce, auto trigger mechanism and trade remedies, are being discussed by Indian officials ahead of the summit meeting.

Indian trade officials will meet in Bangkok on November 1, ahead of the ASEAN summit.

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