Australia’s Attempts to Bring India to Commit to RCEP, Met with Opposition

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

For the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Free Trade Agreement, it has become a challenge now to convince India to oblige to the deal by this year end. The RCEP summit will be held later this year on November 1. Until that time, talks are on and Australia is leading diplomats into convincing India into joining the International podium that promises to drive inter country relationships between the members.

The Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu, supports the commitment amidst opposing forces from the industry. Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal is in talks with various industry members who are not so convinced that India, already a member of FTA (Free Trade Agreement) will stand to benefit thence entering this new arrangement. With the presence of China, already storming the world with its multitude of goods, the members opine they may not get the fair end of the deal if they enter, head first.

Minister Goyal consulted industry members of the Export Promotion Councils in the engineering, auto, chemical, pharmaceutical, leather, agriculture, marine & food processing, dairy, copper, zinc, aluminum, textiles and gems sectors and was met with apprehension over the prospect. However, negotiations have ensued.

“Indian negotiators like any good negotiators can get the best deal in their own country’s interests. But the second part is that industry has to use the access that they gain from the agreement to extend their reach,” Ms. Sidhu said, adding that at the last round of RCEP trade negotiations in Melbourne, the Australian government was “reasonably optimistic that a conclusion on RCEP is achievable by the end of the year”.