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Won`t join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, reiterates India

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New Delhi: India has reiterated it won’t join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact, top sources confirmed about New Delhi’s continuous stance on the issue over several reasons. 

India was one of the original 16 participating countries of the RCEP but had withdrawn in 2019 over several reasons, of which, one was Chinese goods flooding the Indian market. 

Over the weekend, 15 countries of the region — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and all ten members of the ASEAN pact signed the mega Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership RCEP trade pact. 

Earlier last week, asked if India will join RECP, Secretary East in Ministry of External Affairs Riva Ganguly Das had said, “Our position is well known, as far as India is concerned, we did not join RCEP as it does not address the outstanding issues and concerns of India, however, we remain committed to deepening our trade relations with ASEAN.”

While they signed the pact on Saturday, member countries of the economic pact announced that India can participate in the group’s activities as an observer member and left a window open for India to join it on a future date. 

The joint statement after the signing of the mega pact had a special Ministers’ Declaration on India’s participation in the pact. It said, “Any time prior to its accession to the Agreement, India may participate in RCEP meetings as an observer and in economic cooperation activities undertaken by the RCEP Signatory States under the RCEP Agreement, on terms and conditions to be jointly decided upon by the RCEP Signatory States.”

The summary of the agreement leaves a special exception for India to join the pact later. Chapter 20 of the pact says, “This Agreement is open for accession by India, as an original negotiating State, from the date of its entry into force.” 

The pact is the biggest economic pact which accounts for 30% of global GDP and 30% of the global population. 

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