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The 10-member ASEAN expressed hope that India would give an early consent to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega-regional economic agreement being negotiated between the 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) governments and their six FTA partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The stated goal of the negotiations is to “boost economic growth and equitable economic development, advance economic cooperation and broaden and deepen integration in the region through the RCEP,”
The RCEP aims to be the largest free-trade bloc in the world, covering about 3.5 billion people and 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
The proposed RCEP would cover almost every aspect of economy such as goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property rights (IPR), rules of origin and competition and dispute settlement.
New Delhi is not comfortable with the ambitious dismantling of import tariffs being pushed for by the ASEAN, especially as it would also mean allowing duty-free access to Chinese goods. The Indian industry does not want the country to commit to high levels of liberalisation as it fears that it could get out-priced in the domestic market.
India is also pushing for greater liberalization in services sectors, especially for easier movement of its professionals to RCEP member countries. However, most countries are resisting any ambitious deal in services under RCEP while insisting that India further expand its tariff liberalisation offer on goods.
Source-The Business standard.