The countries involved in the world’s biggest trade deal hope to welcome India back into the group – this was announced after their remote meeting last week.
The 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – known as the RCEP – would be the world’s largest when operational, spanning India to New Zealand, including 30% of global GDP and half of the world’s people.
But resistance from India – concerned about a flood of cheap mass-produced Chinese goods hurting small businesses in its economy – came to a head last year when India walked out of the deal. I hope it comes back to RCEP.
India had legitimate concerns and hopefully RCEP will deliver on these. Australian Prime Minister Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Modi have a good relationship and could work together on the way forward.
The meeting, while reaching out to India, also made it clear that one way or another the RCEP deal will be finalised and signed in 2020.
RCEP includes the ASEAN nations plus China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.