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RCEP negotiations: Officials from 16 nations to meet in Jakarta in February

Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu recently stated that India would work closely and constructively with all the members for early conclusion of the negotiations

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Suresh Prabhu, a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, is still regarded as one of the best power ministers by industry.

Chief negotiators of 16 countries including and will meet next month in for the next round of discussions on the proposed trade deal RCEP.

A government said issues to be discussed in the week long meeting, starting February 3, include the single- tier system of duty relaxation under the RCEP.

Under this system, the member countries would deliberate on finalising the maximum number of goods on which duties will either be eliminated or reduced drastically.

Matters pertaining to services sector are also expected to figure in the meeting, the said.

recently stated that would work closely and constructively with all the members for early conclusion of the negotiations.

However, he has asserted on the importance of addressing sensitivities and aspirations of all the countries of the group.

The (RCEP) is a trade pact among 16 countries which aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.

The 16-member bloc RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners - India, China, Japan, South Korea, and

Indian industry and exporters are apprehensive about the presence of in the grouping. They have stated that lowering or eliminating duties for may flood Indian markets with Chinese goods.

Indias trade deficit with China stood at USD 51 billion in 2016-17. Due to this, wants certain deviations for such countries. Under deviations, India may propose a longer duration for either reduction or elimination of import duties for such countries.

Talks for the pact had started in in November 2012. India already has implemented a free trade agreement with ASEAN, and On the other hand, the country is negotiating similar pacts with and

First Published: Fri, January 26 2018. 15:15 IST