International Trade Ministry hopeful India will join RCEP

19 Nov 2019 / 13:07 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of International Trade and Industry Ministry (M) hopes India will eventually join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) after delaying its decision to join the trade pact.

Its minister, Datuk Darell Leiking (pix) said New Delhi would definitely try to iron out its differences with the 15 RCEP countries and resolve the outstanding issues.

“I hope eventually we can find (common) things, we can (even) meet eye to eye and they will join RCEP in due course,” he told reporters at the Su-RE Conference, organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), here today.

“Even if they don’t (be part of RCEP) they’re still part of Asean in terms of dialogue. However, we do hope that they will (join) and find a reason to stay and not to opt-out.

“But for now as we see it, without India, the other 15 countries are committed, and we hope no other issues will be raised and hopefully we execute the (RCEP) document by next year. We should always be hopeful,” said Darell.

According to reports, India has significant outstanding issues which remain unresolved. India’s final decision on whether it would be part of RCEP depend on the satisfactory resolution of these issues.

RCEP is fortified with China’s presence and also brings in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Participating countries of the trade pact met in Bangkok early this month, during a summit of Southeast Asian leaders.

“Within Asean, if we combine the 16 economies and the 16 nations and participating partners there will be a population of more than 3.3 billion. It (RCEP) will be the biggest multilateral agreement between nations.

“When we’re together a lot of (positive) things can happen as you will ensure your own turf will be protected and that is why RCEP is negotiated in the first place,” he said who also spoke during the summit in Thailand’s capital.

On today’s event, the Su-RE Conference organised by Matrade aimed to boost awareness of Malaysian companies, especially among small and medium enterprises on sustainability in export business.

The conference was attended by some 500 participants from a diverse range of industries such as manufacturing, plastics, construction, food products, oil & gas, energy, and services. — Bernama

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