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China urges RCEP members to include India in trade bloc

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The Economic Times - 07 November 2019

China urges RCEP members to include India in trade bloc

A Chinese state-run English daily has offered suggestions for including India in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the newly formed world’s largest trade bloc comprising the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its five free-trade agreement partners.

“The countries involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership shouldn’t lose the chance to include India,” said the report published in Global Times on Wednesday. “For the participants in the negotiations, it is worth thinking about how to persuade India to reconsider the trade deal. To achieve its superpower dream, India should join RCEP.”

India had decided on Monday to stay out of the RCEP owing to concerns that it would be swamped by imports and its domestic industry and agriculture sector would be put at risk.

One option, according to the report, is to give India an adaptive phase as a buffer, during which India can meet its commitments under the RCEP deal step by step. Another option, it said, is to enable the negotiations to continue after the draft signing next year among the 15 other countries.

“A big consumer market and India’s dream to become a major power are the reasons that other countries would love to have India on board. In the era of global interdependence, one can’t be a major power by isolating oneself from the global market,” said the report titled ‘India can be major power by joining RCEP... or not’.

The report said that India’s core concern that joining the RCEP will affect its manufacturing industry needs to be taken seriously. It said “any progress must be made based on mutually beneficial cooperation”.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson had said a day earlier that China would follow the principle of “mutual understanding and accommodation” to resolve the outstanding issues raised by India for not joining the RCEP. It had also said it would welcome India joining the deal at an early date.

 source: The Economic Times