ASEAN member countries of RCEP offer India concession


What is Important?
UPSC perspective:
Prelims :ASEAN,RCEP
Mains :RCEP,India's Concern & Significance


Why in News?

Several Asian member countries of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have offered India a significant concession on the extent to which it needs to open up its markets, in a bid to encourage it to join the partnership quickly, according to a diplomat from Singapore.

About RCEP:

*Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a proposed free trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the six Asia-Pacific states, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements.
*The grouping would comprise 25% of global GDP, 30% of global trade, 26% of FDI flows, and 45% of the population.

Highlights:

*The ASEAN countries are keen to have India as part of the partnership and have made India a concessional offer of opening up only about 83% of its market, as compared to the original 92% that the RCEP agreement stipulated.
* India’s concerns about further opening its market to China and skewing the trade deficit between them further, the RCEP allows for bilateral agreements also to be made so India can perhaps open up to China gradually and not in one go.
*Opening up its market to China has been India’s main concern about joining RCEP.
*India has achieved some success regarding some of its other concerns, such as getting the other RCEP countries to liberalise their services markets and allow for a more free movement of service sector professionals.
*At a time when so much trade is being diverted from China because of the ongoing trade tensions with the U.S., India can corner a lot of this if it joins RCEP.
*India along with Indonesia and Australia are also due to go to elections in 2019.
*It is unlikely that these countries would make a decision before the general elections in 2019, even though the RCEP countries have set a December 2018 internal deadline for the “substantial outcomes”.
*India and a few other countries want only a statement on substantial progress to be made during the summit, and for negotiations to be pushed till next year.
*This adds to the urgency of concluding the RCEP negotiations as it makes it harder for governments to give any concessions on tariffs and subsidies closer to polls, given political compulsions.



ASEAN member countries of RCEP offer India concession ASEAN member countries of RCEP offer India concession Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on November 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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