New Indian demands may stall RCEP deal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with world leaders.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with world leaders.   | Photo Credit: AP


Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes no mention of signing the pact at leaders’ meeting.

Leaders from China and Southeast Asian states called for swift agreement on what could become the world’s largest trade bloc at a regional summit on Sunday, but new demands from India left officials scrambling to salvage progress.

Hopes of finalising the Asia-wide Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is backed by China, have been thrown into doubt at the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok, Thailand.

Summit host Thailand said late on Sunday that the deal could be signed by February 2020.


Thailand had previously said it aimed to conclude negotiations by the end of the year.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not even mention the RCEP deal in opening remarks at a meeting with Southeast Asian leaders.

A Foreign Ministry official later told a media briefing “Let’s take all the RCEP questions tomorrow (November 4).”

A person with knowledge of New Delhi’s negotiations said new demands made last week “are difficult to meet”.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 12:06:21 PM |

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