Will work closely for early conclusion of RCEP talks: Prabhu
India today said it will work "closely and constructively" with all the members of RCEP for early conclusion of the negotiations for a mega trade deal.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu asserted however on the importance of addressing sensitivities and aspirations of all the 16 member countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) group.
RCEP is a mega trade pact among these countries and aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.
Prabhu said the negotiations have been on for the last five years and they are slow because the diversity of economic strengths of all the countries.
"We would all aim to achieve an RCEP that results in the realisation of the potential of the three pillars of RCEP - goods, services and investments and in a manner that is balanced and collectively satisfying," he said here.
He was addressing Asean-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo. The Asean Summit is to be held here this week.
"Keeping this in view, we will work closely and constructively with all RCEP member countries, particularly with Asean towards early conclusion of the negotiations," he added.
Prabhu said that implementation of this pact would further deepen economic relations between the countries.
"It is important to address the sensitivities of member countries and aspirations, as negotiations gather momentum," he said.
There are several issues which are yet to be resolved and that include reaching the final number of goods on which taxes will be eliminated and matters pertaining to services sector.
The 16-member RCEP comprises 10 Asean members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their 6 FTA partners India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Talking about India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) free trade agreement (FTA), Prabhu said full implementation of the pact would boost trade between the two regions.
He said review of the pact holds key to further liberalise the trading regime and facilitating market access between India and Asean.
About free trade pact in services, he expressed hope that the remaining two countries including Philippines, which are yet to ratify the pact would soon complete the process.
The agreement was implemented in July 2015.
Further Prabhu called upon Asean member countries to liberalise procedures for movement of professional to promote trade in services.
India runs a trade deficit of USD 10 billion with Asean.
The two-way commerce between the two regions stood at about USD 71 billion currently.
To promote investments, the government had created a project development fund (PDF) to facilitate Indian investment in four countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
The minister said four projects in CLMV region have already been approved and work in preparation of detailed project report is in progress.
The projects include setting up of a multi-speciality hospital in Cambodia and Myanmar; pharma unit in Vietnam and an education institute in Myanmar.
Speaking at the event, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said that there is an immense scope for businesses of both the sides to increase cooperation in areas like healthcare, IT, tourism and pharmaceuticals.
She said that India-Myanmar-Thailand highway, which is expected to be completed this fiscal, will benefit both Myanmar and the north-eastern states of India in terms of promoting trade and investments.
Teaotia also said the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) is under implementation.
The project aims to improve connectivity between Indian ports on the eastern seaboard and Sittwe port in Myanmar.
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said that huge potential exists in both the regions to strengthen economic ties.
He said that the free trade agreement between India and Asean region is helping boosting bilateral trade and investment.
He said implementation of RCEP pact is the other way to promote trade ties.
He expressed hope that India will stand with Asean to conclude the talks for the mega trade deal this year.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
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