Auto Economic Times - 13 February 2020
South Korea to sign RCEP with or without India
South Korea will sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact with ASEAN countries, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand in November 2020, irrespective of India’s participation, claims a media report.
In November 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to pull out of RCEP pact saying that India will not compromise on its core issues. After that Japan said that it would not sign the deal without India’s participation.
While the Indian government have decided to stay out of RCEP, which could be the largest trade block of the world, the 15 nation group could offer a market worth $125 billion to the domestic companies, across 24 identified product categories, as claimed by a World Trade Centre study.
Commenting on South Korea’s stand, Han-Koo Yeo, Deputy Minister for Trade Negotiations, South Korea, said, “We want India to come back to RCEP. We plan to sign (the pact) in November 2020, and we want India also to join for signing the RCEP.”
He also said, “This (if India signs RCEP) will be a great value addition to this 15-member RCEP. Also, there will a good opportunity for India because once this mega FTA is formed, this regional value chain will develop inside this RCEP community."
He also said that if India does not join RCEP, its negative impact would be felt in the long run by the country as well as other constituent countries.
The proposed RCEP members combined account for 39 per cent of global GDP and 30 per cent of global trade. Also, these countries account for 26 per cent of global foreign direct investment (FDI) and 45 per cent of the total global population.