Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Piyush Goyal will attend the 9thRegional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial meeting to be held on 11-12 October 2019 at Bangkok in Thailand. This will be the last Ministerial before the 3rd Leaders Summit to be held on November 4th 2019 in Bangkok. The Prime Minister of India is expected to attend the Summit. The 9th Intersessional Ministerial Meeting comes at a crucial stage where the RCEP is scheduled to be announced as concluded in November 2019.
The 28thround of negotiations for RCEP at the expert level had concluded at Da Nang, Vietnam, held from September 19 – 27, 2019. In this round of negotiations meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee was held in which senior officials participated in negotiations regarding market access on Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and Investment as well as on other areas like Rules of Origin, Intellectual Property and Electronic Commerce. Out of 25 chapters 21 chapters have been concluded. Crucial chapters of Investment, Electronic Commerce, Rules of Origin and Trade Remedies are yet to be settled.
Ministerial guidance will be sought on these issues during the Bangkok Ministerial round being held in October 2019. The Ministers of participating countries will also be discussing preparations for the 3rdLeaders Summit to be held on November 4th 2019 in Bangkok.
Commerce and Industry Minister will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Japan, Singapore, China, Australia and New Zealand during the Bangkok Ministerial.
In preparation for the crucial Bangkok Ministerial round this month, Commerce and Industry Minister held several consultations with Indian industry for firming up India’s position and for taking into consideration industry concerns and sensitivities. Commerce and Industry Minister chaired several inter-ministerial meetings at the official level and also with Ministers of the key line Ministries.
The focus and emphasis of the meetings chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister was on putting in place appropriate safeguards including auto-trigger mechanism against sudden surge in imports from RCEP countries.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with six partners namely People’s Republic of China (ACFTA), Republic of Korea (AKFTA), Japan (AJCEP), India (AIFTA) and Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA).
In order to broaden and deepen the engagement among parties and to enhance their participation in economic linkages and to enhance trade and investment-related activities as well as to contribute to minimising development gap among the parties the 16 Economic Ministers of countries in this region endorsed the Guiding Principles and Objective for Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in August 2012.
The RCEP negotiations were launched by leaders from 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and 6 ASEAN FTA partners (Australia, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand).
The objective of launching RCEP negotiation is to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN member states and ASEAN’s FTA partners. The RCEP negotiations commenced in early 2013.