15 countries involved in RCEP conclude negotiations without India
The 15 countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have concluded negotiations, leaving India out of the deal which would have been the largest trade pact in the world. The RCEP, which went through after seven years of intense negotiations, was successfully wrapped up at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok tonight. The announcement was made in a joint leaders’ statement released after the 3rd RCEP Meeting. It said India did not join as it had significant outstanding issues, which remained unresolved. “All RCEP participating countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues,” it said. The deal is expected to be signed next year.

The statement said RCEP will significantly boost the region’s future growth prospects and contribute positively to the global economy, while serving as a supporting pillar to a strong multilateral trading system and promoting development in economies across the region. “Against the backdrop of a fast-changing global environment, the completion of the RCEP negotiations will demonstrate our collective commitment to an open trade and investment environment across the region. “We are negotiating an agreement intended to further expand and deepen regional value chains for the benefits of our businesses, including small and medium enterprises, as well as our workers, producers, and consumers,” it said. With a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$49.5 trillion, the RCEP makes up 39 per cent of the total global GDP.

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