New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) The central government has held over 100 consultations with stakeholders on the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), in the last six years.
According to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, consultations were held to seek industry inputs for formulating India’s interests in a wide spectrum of the economy, including agriculture, chemicals, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, textiles, ferrous and nonferrous metals, automobiles and machinery.
The RCEP, the mega trade partnership, is a proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between 10 member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six FTA partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).
The RCEP negotiations began in November 2012 in Cambodia.
Accordingly, the Commerce Department has recieved industry feedback in the areas of “rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary, and technical barriers to trade, anti-dumping, countervailing duties, safeguards measures and intellectual property rights (IPR)”.
“The consultations, in recent times, also included interactions with stakeholders under the guidance of Minister for Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal,” the ministry said in a statement.
“State governments are also important stakeholders in these negotiations. Recognising this, the Commerce Secretaries have held regular engagements with the Chief Secretaries and other officials of states on various aspects of RCEP to make them aware of the developments and encouraged to further interact with industry and other stakeholders,” it said.
In 2017, the prospective RCEP member states accounted for 3.4 billion people with a gross domestic product (GDP at purchasing power parity) of $49.5 trillion, 39 per cent of the global GDP. The combined GDPs of India and China accounted for more than half of that.