India looks forward to balanced RCEP trade pact: Commerce Secy

New Delhi, May 30: India will endeavour to have a “balanced” RECP trade agreement as it would cover 40 per cent of the global GDP and over 42 per cent of the world’s population, a top government official said today.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), negotiations for which started in November 2012, aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.
The RCEP bloc comprises 10 Asean members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“This is perhaps the most ambitious agreement we are doing. It encompasses about 40 per cent of global GDP and over 42 per cent of the world’s population. So it’s a huge significant bloc. It is not an easy one. There will be ramifications, nevertheless it is important because of our geographical connect and our natural complementarities,” Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said.
She was addressing a seminar in PHD Chamber of free trade agreements.
She said that RCEP is a very active agreement and it is part of India’s Act East policy.
There are risks in this because India has huge adverse balance of trade with China, Japan, South Korea and Asean, she said adding, “We have to be mindful of the fact that it has to be a balanced agreement.”