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China, Japan vow to solve RCEP differences with India

Updated : November 06, 2019 06:24 AM IST

A day after India decided not to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), China and Japan promised to solve differences with New Delhi on the world's largest trade agreement.

The Japanese trade minister said, "Tokyo will continue to play a leading role toward an early agreement of the 16 nations, including India."

Spokesperson of China's foreign ministry said, "RCEP is open, we will follow the principle of mutual understanding and accommodation to negotiate and resolve those outstanding problems raised by India and we welcome an early joining by India.”

Meanwhile, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal indicated that India is open for negotiations if the member countries of RCEP would come up with a better offer which can address concerns and provide greater market access for the domestic industries.

He, however, said that for the present it is the final decision of the government that India will not join the China-backed mega free trade agreement -- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bangkok on Monday said that India will not join the RCEP deal as negotiations failed to address New Delhi's "outstanding issues and concerns".

As many as 16 countries -- 10 nation bloc ASEAN and its six trading partners including India -- were negotiating the mega free-trade pact RCEP.

"For the present, it is the final decision, we are not joining RCEP. But if all our demands are met which will give Indian industry more scope for growth, will open better markets without adversely affecting India's interest...I think every government is always open for discussion and negotiations," Goyal told reporters in New Delhi.

"In international engagement and relations, the doors never shut with anybody ... If they make a sincere effort to resolve our concerns, to give us confidence and help us to balance this trade inequality, then I think every nation should talk to their friends, hum koi dushmani karke nai baithe hain kisis ke sath (we do not have any animity with any nation)," he added.

India adopted a tough stand at the RCEP on issues like balancing huge trade deficit with countries like China; a mechanism to check sudden surge in imports or dumping goods; strong norms for rules of origin, the year for reduction of duties should be 2019 instead of 2014, and unfair trade practices.

(With inputs from PTI)
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