BANGKOK — Nov. 4, 2019: Fifteen of the countries involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) today concluded their negotiations but leaving out India from a deal that would have been the largest trade pact in the world.
The RCEP was seven years in the making and the years of often intense and tough negotiations were successfully concluded at the 35th Asean Summit here.
The announcement in a joint leaders’ statement released after the 3rd RCEP meeting said India did not join as it had significant outstanding issues.
“We noted the 15 RCEP participating countries have concluded text-based negotiations for all 20 chapters and essentially all their market access issue and tasked legal scrubbing by them to commence for signing in 2020.
“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.
Earlier, all 10 Asean leaders and the bloc’s six dialogue partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand – attended the RCEP meeting.
Malaysia was represented by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking.
The statement said RCEP would 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.
The RCEP was initiated in Phnom Penh in 2012 and negotiations commenced in 2013. With a combined gross domestic product of US$49.5 trillion (US$1=RM4.15), the RCEP makes up 39 per cent of the total global GDP.
Leiking said Malaysia was ready to work together with the other countries to conclude the negotiations for signing next year. — Bernama