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India not to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

India decides not to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as all its concerns not addressed; PM Modi tells RCEP agreement does not reflect its original intent and that the outcome is not fair or balanced.

World had its eyes on the outcome of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The agreement would have been the world’s largest free-trade zone, however, post the third edition of the RCEP Summit, India decided not to join RCEP owing to the unresolved issues between India and partner nations. Taking a firm stand, Prime Minister Modi asserted that India will not become a part of the agreement until it gets a fair and balanced deal.

“India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. India has been pro-actively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. The present form of RCEP agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns. In such a situation, it is not possible for India to join RCEP Agreement.”

The Prime Minister made it clear that…”Our farmers, traders, professionals and industries have stakes in such decisions. Equally important are the workers and consumers, who make India a huge market and the third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. When I measure RCEP agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permit me to join RCEP.”

According to the free trade agreement, the regulations for import and export of goods will be eased. Under this agreement, the member states will have to reduce taxes and build an ecosystem conducive to trade. Post the signing of agreement, the member states will get an increased access of goods and services amongst each other. Apart from the 10 ASEAN member states, India, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea, were to be the part of RCEP Agreement.

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