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India looks forward to balanced RCEP trade pact: Commerce Secy

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

will endeavour to have a "balanced" RECP trade agreement as it would cover 40 per cent of the global GDP and over 42 per cent of the world's population, a top said today.

The (RCEP), negotiations for which started in November 2012, aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.

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

"This is perhaps the most ambitious agreement we are doing. It encompasses about 40 per cent of global GDP and over 42 per cent of the world's population. So it's a huge significant bloc. It is not an easy one. There will be ramifications, nevertheless it is important because of our geographical connect and our natural complementarities," Commerce said.

She was addressing a seminar in PHD Chamber of free trade agreements.

She said that RCEP is a very active agreement and it is part of India's Act East policy.

There are risks in this because has huge adverse balance of trade with China, Japan, and Asean, she said adding, "We have to be mindful of the fact that it has to be a balanced agreement."

So far, 22 rounds of negotiations have concluded besides five minister-level meets.

Further, the said that services sector is an important component of the pact.

"...With Asean, we have negative balances of services and goods trade. So it is not like that by negotiating services, there is some great lollipop which will fall into the lap of No, it would not happen," Teaotia said.

India's trade deficit with stood at USD 63.12 billion in 2017-18. India 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.

India already has a free trade pact with (ASEAN), and It is also negotiating a similar agreement with and but has no such plans for

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 30 2018. 15:40 IST