India rejects major RCEP trade pact
(5 November 2019 - India) India has confirmed it will not join an expansive Asian trade pact, marking a major blow to the China-backed deal at the end of a Bangkok summit held against a backdrop of global economic growth concerns.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was planned to account for 30 percent of global GDP and encompass half the world's population. India failed to dispel concerns surrounding market access, fearing domestic industries could be curtailed if the country was inundated by cheaper Chinese goods. The 11th-hour withdrawal comes after protracted negotiations at the recent Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. India's decision is seen as a blow to the deal, which included all ten ASEAN nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand (notably excluding the United States). The remaining members are aiming to sign it next year after reviewing an agreed draft text.
"We have conveyed to the participating countries that we will not be joining the RCEP. Our decision was guided by the impact this agreement will have on the ordinary human beings of India and livelihood of people, including the poorest of the poor” stated Senior Indian Diplomat Vijay Thakur Singh.