India and Japan to conclude negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by 2015-end and make it a "high quality and mutually beneficial" agreement.
India and Japan today pledged to fast-track negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega free trade deal, and wrap it up by the end of 2015.
They also announced to make it a "high quality and mutually beneficial" agreement. RCEP came up for discussion during the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Japanese counterpart, Yoichi Miyazawa, here.
"The two ministers reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to actively engage in the RCEP negotiations and make it a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement... They shared their intention to accelerate the negotiations towards conclusion by the end of 2015," the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) said.
The 16-member RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN members and its six FTA partners, namely India, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The 16 economies account for over a quarter of the world economy. The RCEP negotiations were launched in Phnom Penh in November 2012. RCEP is an extremely important institutional process which could lead to a plurilateral agreement that will have wider implications for partners.
Both the countries today signed a 5-point action plan to boost bilateral trade and investment.
As part of the broader efforts, the trade ministers also agreed on developing select clusters -- the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC) -- as 'Japan Industrial Townships' in order to facilitate Japanese investment to India.They also identified 11 sites for this purpose, which include Tumkur, Ponneri, Jhajjar, Supa, Neemrana and Mandal.
"They stressed the importance of collaborative steps between Indian and Japanese sides for the improvement of business environment," DIPP added.