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RCEP talks: Members to meet in Singapore by month-end for next round

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Chief negotiators of India, and 14 other countries will meet by the end of this month in for the next round of discussions on the proposed mega free trade deal RCEP.

"The meeting will start by the end of this month. This will be the 22nd round of negotiations," an said.

The issues which would figure in deliberations include finalising the number of goods on which duties would be significantly reduced or eliminated and matters pertaining to the services sector.

The (RCEP) is a mega trade agreement among 16 countries aimed at liberalising norms for goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.

The talks have dragged on as RCEP members want an agreement over removal of customs duties on maximum number of products. Besides, countries like want greater liberalisation in the services sector trade, which is a key component in the domestic

On the other hand, Indian industry and exporters are apprehensive about the presence of in the grouping, with which has a huge trade deficit. They have stated that lowering or eliminating duties for may flood Indian markets with Chinese goods.

Some trade experts have warned over the impact of the trade agreement on India's trade.

"should be very cautious about this pact because the kind of market access and tariff cuts that RCEP countries are demanding including in agriculture sector, it would be difficult for to sustain in long run," Biswajit Dhar, a at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said.

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

India's trade deficit with China stood at USD 51 billion in 2016-17. 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.

Talks for the pact 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

According to experts, if concluded, the RCEP would become the largest free trade area. It would open market for over 3 billion people.

The 16 countries account for over a quarter of the world's economy, estimated to be more than USD 75 trillion.

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

First Published: Sun, April 15 2018. 11:10 IST