Amid growing concerns over the global economic slowdown, the world nations are now focused on the most-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) i.e., Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
To everyone’s disappointment, the deal is likely to be postponed further and expected to happen only in 2020. A draft statement from the southeast Asian leaders has confirmed this, say the sources.
Thailand, which chaired the 35th ASEAN Summit (2019), has reportedly said this on the sidelines of the Summit on November 03, 2019.
“Welcomed the conclusion of the RCEP negotiations and the commitment to sign the RCEP Agreement in 2020. This will significantly contribute to an open, inclusive and rules-based international trading system and expansion of value chains,” reads a statement from the 35th ASEAN Summit 2019.
According to Thai Government Spokeswoman Narumon, the deal can be expected around February 2020.
“We don’t have a conclusion yet. Once there is one, it would be announced. Commerce ministers are still discussing outstanding issues. The signing is expected around February next year,” She said in a statement.
India’s Decision Crucial
Dubbed as the world’s largest trade deal, RCEP includes 16 world nations including 10 Southeast Asian nations and 6 of the world’s largest trading partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
All these nations under the new trade bloc make up to 30% of the world GDP.
But India is seriously concerned that the trade agreement will allow an influx of cheap Chinese products into the Indian market, hitting the local producers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Summit on November 03, 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is looking forward for reviewing its trade agreement with the bloc.
“This will not only make our economic relations stronger, but our trade will also be balanced,” Modi said in a statement.
China, India Trade War
China is struggling hard to bring RCEP into implementation to fight out its trade war with the United States.
The two countries are currently engaged in a serious trade war, resulting in tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s goods.
“As much as we’d like to see RCEP done, we’d like to see our administration focus on getting deals done for the United States,” says Charles Freeman, senior vice president for Asia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, when asked about his country’s opinion on RCEP.
It’s worth waiting to see where RCEP is headed to and when!