Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal is slated to attend the ninth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial meeting in Bangkok from October 11 to 12.
This will be the last ministerial meeting before the third Leaders Summit slated to be held on November 4 in Bangkok. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the summit.
The ninth Intersessional Ministerial Meeting comes at a crucial stage as the RCEP is scheduled to be announced as concluded next month, according to an official press note.
The 28th round of negotiations for RCEP at the expert-level had concluded at Da Nang, Vietnam, held from September 19 to 27 this year.
In that round of negotiations, a meeting of the trade negotiating committee was held in which senior officials participated in discussions regarding market access on trade in goods, trade in services and investment as well as on other areas like rules of origin, intellectual property, and electronic commerce.
Out of 25 chapters, 21 of them have been concluded. Crucial chapters of investment, electronic commerce, rules of origin and trade remedies are yet to be settled, the statement added.
The ministerial guidance will be sought on these issues during the upcoming Bangkok ministerial meeting. The ministers of participating countries will also be discussing preparations for the third Leaders Summit.
Goyal will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Japan, Singapore, China, Australia and New Zealand during the Bangkok ministerial meet.
In preparation for the crucial Bangkok Ministerial round this month, the Union Minister held several consultations with the Indian industry for firming up India's position and for taking into consideration industry concerns and sensitivities, the statement said.
"The focus and emphasis of the meetings chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister was on putting in place appropriate safeguards including auto-trigger mechanism against the sudden surge in imports from RCEP countries," it said.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with six partners namely People's Republic of China (ACFTA), Republic of Korea (AKFTA), Japan (AJCEP), India (AIFTA) and Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA).
The RCEP negotiations were launched by leaders from 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and 6 ASEAN FTA partners (Australia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand).
"The objective of launching RCEP negotiation is to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN member states and ASEAN's FTA partners," the statement added.
The RCEP negotiations had commenced in early 2013.
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