Reuters reported on November 2 that a press conference scheduled for November 1 was cancelled. According to the source, Thailands commerce minister made the decision in order to allow the marathon negotiation to continue on that night.
As the host of the ASEAN summit, Thailand has recently been pushing for a preliminary RCEP agreement to ease the threat of trade frictions between China and the United States to regional economic growth. However, under the current circumstances, it is unclear whether ministers can reach an agreement before the end of the ASEAN Summit on the 4th.
Japan Kyodo news agency said that according to the draft joint statement of the summit it learned on February 2, it showed that about 20 areas have all completed the negotiations on written documents, but one participating country has reservations on reaching an agreement.
The draft emphasizes that some left over bilateral problems will be solved by February 2020 and promises to sign an agreement in Vietnam, the next ASEAN chair in office. Kyodo quoted analysts as saying India may have reservations.
On November 2, Indian Prime Minister modi arrived in tuyuan, Bangkok: Vision China
RCEP was initiated by ten ASEAN countries and invited China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India to participate in it. The purpose of RCEP is to establish a free trade agreement with a unified market of 16 countries by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers. If RCEP succeeds, it will cover about 3.5 billion people, with a total GDP of US $23 trillion, accounting for 1 / 3 of the global total, and the region it covers will become the largest free trade area in the world.
In addition to eliminating internal trade barriers, creating and improving a free investment environment and expanding service trade, RCEP will also involve many fields such as intellectual property protection and competition policy.
Many countries said: just wait for India
Reuters said the main obstacle to RCEP was the demand from India, which feared that Chinese goods would hit the Indian market once an agreement was reached.
The other 15 countries are waiting for India to reach an agreement, Nikkei Asia review quoted several sources as saying. 15 countries have finished the discussion, there is only one country left, we are waiting for this country to solve their problems, said a minister of Southeast Asian countries.
Nikkei Asia review: China, Japan and ASEAN are waiting for India to sign the RCEP trade agreement
Ramon Lopez, the Philippine Minister of trade and industry, agreed with this statement. He pointed out without naming on the 2nd that a certain country is negotiating and confirming some domestic issues.
A Southeast Asian representative said an agreement could be reached if India compromised; South Korean government sources said India was waiting for its 15 potential partners. If India nodded, the RCEP agreement would have been expected to be announced at the November 4 summit, the report said.
Earlier, the Asahi Shimbun quoted Japanese government sources as saying that Japan had received private inquiries from representatives of other countries involved in the negotiations, how about signing India first, and other countries first?.
Shigeng Hongcheng, who previously served as the Minister of economy and industry of Japan for a long time (August 2016 September 2019), said on twitter on the 3rd: I attended all the 11 ministerial meetings of RCEP during my tenure, and really wanted to sign an agreement in any case. After the negotiation, his duty is to use all the relations between Japan and India to promote India to make the negotiation develop well.
What is India worried about?
The India Business Line reported on October 28 that at the RCEP ministerial meeting earlier in October, India had strongly opposed the proposed RCEP agreement at the last minute.
Piyush Goyal, Indias minister of Commerce and industry, suddenly took a tough stance on some issues and asked other Member States to provide more safeguards, an official familiar with the situation said. The move is deeply surprising because many of these issues have been negotiated and resolved by India and other Member States earlier.
One of the reasons for Indias tough stance in the negotiations, the report said, was concerns among its industry and farmers that more cheap imports could flow into the countrys market once tariffs on Chinese goods are lowered. To that end, Japan is trying to persuade China to lower its demands on India, including reducing or removing import tariffs on Indian goods.
India Business Line: Japan tries to persuade China to relax its demands on India
India has long been a major resister to RCEP, Bloomberg said, citing strong domestic opposition to the deal and concerns that the Congress will be overwhelmed by Chinese goods. An Indian official said India had made new demands after countries reached a preliminary agreement on RCEP, including changes in basic tariffs and product specific regulations.
According to the South China Morning Post, modi is facing criticism from home. Many voices believe that India has a trade deficit with other 15 countries, and RCEP will bring a large number of imported goods, which will impact and damage local industries. In dairy, for example, the industry is concerned that dairy products from New Zealand and Australia will threaten local dairy farmers.
We will consider all issues during this summit, including whether Indias considerations and interests in goods, services and investment and trade are fully taken care of, Indian Prime Minister modi said in a statement ahead of his visit to Bangkok on Tuesday
In an interview with the Bangkok Post, modi said he was committed to the RCEP negotiations, but while opening up Indias vast market, we must open up the market in areas that our enterprises can also benefit from. Bloomberg quoted Indian officials as saying that although the modi government will push other Member States to make further concessions, it is likely to finally agree to sign the agreement, because they fear that India will be forced to enter into bilateral negotiations with other countries once it is excluded from the agreement. In addition, according to the South China Morning Post, according to officials from ASEAN countries, a communique to be published on Monday (4) is optimistic about the prospect of RCEP, and the remaining 15 countries will give India the necessary leeway to overcome the domestic pressure in the country. Source: responsible editor of observer network: Zhou Xinyi ufe63 nb12002
In an interview with the Bangkok Post, modi said he was committed to the RCEP negotiations, but while opening up Indias vast market, we must open up the market in areas that our enterprises can also benefit from.
Bloomberg quoted Indian officials as saying that although the modi government will push other Member States to make further concessions, it is likely to finally agree to sign the agreement, because they fear that India will be forced to enter into bilateral negotiations with other countries once it is excluded from the agreement.
In addition, according to the South China Morning Post, according to officials from ASEAN countries, a communique to be published on Monday (4) is optimistic about the prospect of RCEP, and the remaining 15 countries will give India the necessary leeway to overcome the domestic pressure in the country.