ASEAN Invites India Back to RCEP


ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn is leading the ASEAN Secretariat delegation on a working visit to India….reports Asian Lite News

The door for India to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) remains open, said ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn on Wednesday, expressing hope that New Delhi will reconsider its participation in the world’s largest trade deal.

When asked whether ASEAN sees any willingness on India’s part to reconsider the trade deal, the ASEAN Secretary General enunciated that he does not think there is an absolute no from the Indian side on the matter and that the two sides would continue to engage with each other.

ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn is leading the ASEAN Secretariat delegation on a working visit to India.

In an interview with ANI, the secretary general shared the progress of RCEP and the discussion with India on this matter.

Signed in 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a free trade agreement among the Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

India, which took part in the initial negotiations, later decided to opt out.

“…The door remains open (for India) and we believe that there’s an opportunity to work together, of course, through bilateral FTA, between ASEAN and India on the one hand, but of course, also the opportunity to do so…And of course, we still welcome in the house and we hope India will continue to look at ourselves ourself. You know, in the long term,” Kao Kim Hourn said.

“I don’t think that India is an absolute, no matter if it is all about flexibility. It’s about practicality. It’s about mutual interest. So I think as long as we continue to engage with one another, this engagement approach is important,” he added.

The RCEP was conceived at the 2011 ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, while negotiations were formally launched during the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.

The RCEP Agreement, which entered into force on January 1, 2022, is an ASEAN-led initiative that creates the world’s largest free trade area in terms of the parties’ combined gross domestic product (GDP), which is almost a third of the world’s GDP, and the market size, as the parties’ combined population accounts for almost one-third of the world’s population.

Moreover, RCEP comprises the ten ASEAN Member States, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. (ANI)

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