India for parallel talks on goods, services at RCEP

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Press Trust of India | November 21, 2016

India for parallel talks on goods, services at RCEP

India is pitching for simultaneous negotiations for liberalisation of trade in goods and services in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

"India has stressed on the need for parallelism between the negotiations on goods and services (in RCEP)," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

RCEP negotiations were launched in Phnom Penh in November 2012. The 16 countries account for over a quarter of the world’s economy, estimated to be more than USD 75 trillion.

The 16-member bloc RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six free trade agreement partners — India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

She said the agreement is intended to facilitate and thereby increase goods and services trade as well as investments.

Replying to a separate question on WTO, she said India is working with the G33 group of developing countries at WTO on all agricultural issues.

"Proposals for finding a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes and an agricultural special safeguard mechanism for developing countries are ongoing negotiations at WTO," she added.

She also said that at a recent WTO meeting, some members raised questions about India’s safeguard investigations concerning certain aluminium and steel products.

"India has been defending its interests by appropriate interventions justifying its action under WTO," she added.

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