At the Asean summit in Thailand, 15 out of 16 negotiating countries agreed to sign a free trade agreement. The so-called RCEP contract is to be closed according to a joint declaration in the coming year. RCEP stands for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The 16th country, India, had not yet agreed to do so because of significant differences, according to the final statement of the meeting of the Asean heads of state and government. "India's final decision depends on the satisfactory solution to these problems," it said. The other 15 states would continue to negotiate with India.
The Indian media reported that the government was worried that the agreement would allow many products from China to enter the country. Especially for China as the second largest economy the free trade pact would be a great success.
Free trade zone would cover one third of world trade
The free trade pact under the leadership of China would include a third of world trade. In addition to China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, as well as the ten countries of the Southeast Asian community (Asean) Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia and Singapore also want to participate.
The RCEP talks had gained momentum as a result of the US-China trade dispute, as US President Donald Trump, shortly after taking office, had also canceled the already negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
However, it is still unclear when exactly the agreement will be signed in the coming year. The graduation was already planned for this year.