India still has a year to decide on RCEP

Fifteen of the RCEP participated countries have come on board the RCEP, barring India. A joint statement released after the RCEP summit in Bangkok on Monday expressed, “We welcomed the report presented by ministers on the outcomes of the RCEP negotiations. We noted 15 RCEP participating countries have concluded text-based negotiations for all 20 chapters and essentially all their market access issues and tasked legal scrubbing by them to commence for signing in 2020. India has significant outstanding issues which remain unresolved. All RCEP participating countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues.” Secretary (East), MEA, Vijay Thakur Singh commented on the RCEP, “In the given circumstances, we believe not joining the agreement is the right decision. This reflects both our assessment of current global situation and of the fairness and balance of the agreement.”

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