Hyderabad, July 31 (IANS) India has said that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed mega FTA involving 16 countries including the Asean, can offer a forward looking alternative in the face of growing protectionism in the world.
RCEP is a proposed comprehensive regional economic integration agreement among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam and its six Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) partners – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, South Korea and India.
“It is important that RCEP offers a positive and forward looking alternative in the face of growing protectionism across the world. While RCEP is a beacon of hope for free trade, its real success will be measured by its ability to bring prosperity, economic growth, decent living standards, creation of jobs and greater business opportunities for the people of the region, in an equitable manner,” Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said here at the 19th round of RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) meetings.
The 19th round of RCEP TNC meetings and other related meetings were held here from July 17-28.
Teaotia reiterated the importance of being guided by the guiding principles and objectives for negotiating the RCEP. She mentioned that keeping this larger picture in view, India is constructively engaged in RCEP.
During the 19th round, parallel meetings were held by the three main working groups on trade in goods, trade in services and investment, including their respective sub-working groups. Working groups in other areas like intellectual property, electronic commerce, legal and institutional issues also had their meetings.
“A set of key elements for significant outcomes, envisaged to be achieved by the end of 2017, were agreed. The meeting also highlighted the need to have balanced discussions to progress negotiation across all areas, and to continue to deliver outcomes,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
During the meeting, all RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) agreed that a good RCEP agreement has immense potential to deliver on new economic opportunities including job creation that are much needed in today’s world of uncertainty.
The meeting expressed shared commitment to work collectively and in a cooperative manner, to progress the negotiations in an accelerated way, and achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement that addresses and balances the aspirations and sensitivities of participating countries, it said.