RCEP Negotiations: From Trade to Economic Partnership
✓While the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement was inked and enforced from January 1,2010, India’s goods trade deficit with ASEAN widened from $4.98 billion in 2010-11 to $14.75 billion in 2015-16, and then narrowed to $9.56 billion in 2016-17.
✓The huge goods trade deficit has led to questions on whether the pact is only helping ASEAN nations and not benefiting India.
✓In this context the Proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is significant. The 19th round of the Trade Negotiating Committee meetings and other related meetings were held from 17 to 28 July 2017 in Hyderabad, India. 20th round of negotiations for RCEP were held in Incheon, Korea, from October 17 to 28, 2017.
✓RCEP is a proposed comprehensive regional economic integration agreement or a mega Free Trade Agreement amongst the 10-ASEAN countries and its six Free Trade Agreements.