Forum concerned at ‘secret’ RCEP talks

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Civil society organisations and trade experts on Sunday raised concern over the negotiations regarding a proposed mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) involving 16 Asia-Pacific nations, including India and China.

Technical level talks of the proposed FTA, officially known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), are being held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre from July 18 to 28. The RCEP, inter alia, aims to liberalise investment norms as well as boost trade by eliminating/drastically reducing import duties on goods and bringing down ‘barriers’ in the services sector.

After a day-long meeting, the People’s Resistance Forum against FTAs and RCEP, an umbrella body representing farmers, industrial workers and service sector employees, street vendors, HIV-positive persons, tribal people, environmental activists and women’s organisations, among others, said in a statement that the RCEP would have wide-ranging impact on agriculture, services, access to medicines, investment and e-commerce.

About Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):

To read in detail about the organisation, click here.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) b/w the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), viz. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements, viz. Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Image: RCEP member countries infographics

RCEP will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues.

 

Reference(s):

The Hindu (You can download ‘The Hindu’ newspaper for free from UPSC Aspirants Forum – a facebook page)

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