India will not join RCEP trade deal

Bangkok, Nov 4 (AFP/APP): India said Monday it would not join a sprawling Asian trade pact, raising fears over how domestic producers would be hit, in a major blow to the deal.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was meant to account for 30 percent of global GDP and loop in half of the world’s people.

But India dug in over concerns about market access, fearing its domestic industries would be hard hit if the country was flooded by cheap goods.

China expects to deepen cooperation with RCEP members

“We have conveyed to the participating countries that we will not be joining the RCEP,” Vijay Thakur Singh, a senior diplomat in charge of East Asia for India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

“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,” she said.

The dramatic pullout comes after frenzied negotiations at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok, which closed Monday evening.

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