The Commerce Secretary Dr. Anup Wadhawan led a delegation to the 8th RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial meeting held in Beijing on 2-3 Au\gust 2019. During the meeting he highlighted India’s contribution in shaping the RCEP negotiations till date. He advocated a spirit of understanding accommodation and flexibility towards reaching balanced outcome in the negotiations. India’s concerns regarding market access and other issues leading to imbalanced trade between some of the partner countries was specifically flagged during the meetings.
On the side-lines of the Ministerial meeting, the Commerce Secretary held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from China, Thailand, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and ASEAN Economic Ministers.
In his meeting with Mr. Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce of China, the Commerce Secretary emphasized the importance of an RCEP agreement that would duly address the causes of existing trade imbalances. He used this opportunity to flag bilateral market access related issues on various categories of products in which discussions are ongoing between India and China. He also emphasized the importance of easing the business visas regime of China for Indian business travellers.
In his meeting with Mr. Boonyarit Kalayanamit, Permanent Secretary of Thailand, the Commerce Secretary requested Thailand to improve its offer in goods and services under RCEP. In his meeting with Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore, the Commerce Secretary requested Singapore to support operationalization of the MRA on nursing as agreed in the 2nd CECA review and work towards speedy progress on the 3rd CECA review.
During the meeting with ASEAN Economic Ministers, the Commerce Secretary highlighted the importance of services trade which supports both goods trade and investment. Commerce Secretary also met Mr. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia wherein both sides appreciated the progress made under RCEP and the need to move forward on each other’s requestsincluding service sector related requests of India. Commerce Secretary requested greater market access for Indian goods and services fromMr. Enggartiasto Lukita, Trade Minister of Indonesia. During his meeting with Ms. Myung Hee Yoo, Minister for Trade, Republic of Korea, Commerce Secretarypushed for concrete measures to improve the India-Korea CEPA and address concerns regarding imbalances. He also asked for early resolution of issues pertaining to market access for India’s services sector. The Commerce Secretary also met Mr. S. Tanaka, Vice Minister for International Affairs of Japan and Mr. Damien O’ Connor, Minister of State for Trade, New Zealand.