ASEAN countries have agreed to try and persuade India to return to the negotiating table for the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal.
Representatives of ASEAN countries also discussed investment service regulations and a flexible open-door market policy among the 16 nations.
The discussions were implemented at the preparatory RCEP meeting in the central city – one of a series of activities including the ASEAN Trade Negotiating Committee (Prep ASEAN TMC) for ASEAN economic ministers (AEM) Caucus Meeting on RCEP at the 26 AEM Retreat – on the second working day yesterday.
Deputies from ASEAN also agreed to fix a schedule for ending negotiations at yesterday’s meeting.
Viet Nam, in its role as ASEAN Chair in 2020, has co-ordinated with regional countries to ensure the benefits of all ASEAN members, and would act as a bridge with India.
Participants agreed that despite India’s withdrawal, the RCEP would still be a big free trade that sets a common trade rule.
However, ASEAN members also expressed their expectations that the participation of 16 countries would bring huge benefits for all members.
Negotiations for the RCEP, which started in 2012, have targeted strengthening economic co-operation among the 10 ASEAN members with China, Japan, Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.
The RCEP is home to 30 per cent of the world’s population and 29 per cent of the world’s GDP.
Viet Nam has proposed initiatives, priorities and co-operation plans for discussion, consultation and consensus with member states to conclude negotiations.
Yesterday’s preparatory meeting was the second working day after the Preparatory Senior Economic Officials Meeting preluding the 26th ASEAN Economic Meeting (AEM) Retreat.
The 26th ASEAN Economic Meeting Retreat will take place in Da Nang on March 10 before the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Consultation on March 11.