RCEP negotiations may miss December deadline

The negotiations for the proposed mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 16 Asia Pacific nations including India and China are likely to miss the December 2016 deadline for their conclusion, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.

The talks for inking the pact, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), might “move into 2017,” Ms. Sitharaman told reporters, adding that the next meeting to review progress is slated for November this year.

The trade ministers of the RCEP members, including from the 10-member ASEAN bloc, had met earlier this month in Laos to resolve outstanding issues — including those related to liberalisation of trade in services and goods. Sources said the RCEP member nations are now considering a single-tier system of tariff relaxation from the earlier three-tier system. It is learnt that India, however, will agree to this single-tier system only if it results in flexibility for it to bring down or eliminate tariffs in some select items over a very long period of time so that such a move does not hurt India Inc.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 5:35:43 AM |

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