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It's crucial for India to become part of RCEP: Comm Secy

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said three large pacts are being negotiated currently - Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) -- and it's important for India to be part of at least one.

August 24, 2015 / 05:02 PM IST

There are three important multilateral free trade agreements on the anvil and it's important for India to become part of RCEP with a view to stepping up its share of global trade and investment, a top government official said.

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said three large pacts are being negotiated currently - Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) -- and it's important for India to be part of at least one.

"It is important for us to be part of at least one of them. And by inherent logic, RCEP is one where we need to be there. This group has 30 percent of world's trade. So, it is important for us to be part of this," Teaotia told agency.


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.

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.


There has been "good discussions" in the RCEP and so far, nine rounds of negotiations have already been concluded, Teaotia said. On goods, she said: "Largely, the discussions are done.

There are some small hiccups to be sorted out, but I do not think that there are any major bottlenecks at this point of time.


We should be able to overcome those." On services and investments, the Secretary said: "We are now looking for the movement forward. Our interest is to build on our existing agreements with ASEAN, Japan and Korea for our benefit to widen our base for doing business."

"We are expecting a good movement in the next ministerial meeting this month." RCEP trade ministers are meeting in Kuala Lumpur on August 24 to finalise the modalities of the pact. The deal aims to cover goods and services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property.


RCEP is under negotiations and is an extremely important institutional process which will have significant implications for India and other partners. Such trade pacts would help India increase its share in the global trade - India is aiming to increase its share to 3.5 percent by 2020 from the current 2 percent.

TPP is a proposed trade agreement under negotiations among 12 countries - Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

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TTIP is between the European Union and the US.

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