Bangkok, Nov 4: A significant progress has been made in the negotiations on the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP, pact but India is likely to take some more time to sort out its 'concerns' on Rules of Origin and its market access with China.
"The door will always be open to India," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been quoted in a section of media.
He also said it has been Australia's stance that RCEP could turn a "bigger and better deal with India in it". Morrison said."I think patience is the virtue in this," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting with Morrison here. "Accelerating friendship with Australia," tweeted the Prime Minister's Office in reference to the meeting.
Meanwhile, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar in a missive in the micro blogging site wrote: "Bridging the geographical distance. PM Narendra Modi had an engaging conversation with Australian PM Scott Morrison towards deepening & diversifying our relationship".
"Both the leaders discussed preparing for a substantive outcome during Australian PM visit to India in January 2020," MEA spokesman tweeted.
China also said on Monday negotiations to firm up the RCEP deal made "inspiring progress".
The RCEP agreement is being negotiated among six key economies India, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand and the ten ASEAN members -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
This pact if comes through will create a free trade pact covering a third of the world's economy.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing "As I understand the progress made may not fully meet the expectations of all parties but we have seen inspiring progress and all parties also say they will make joint efforts for conclusion of the treaty".
The possible delay in firming up the RCEP during the three-day summit in the Thai capital has been attributed to India's "new demands" on market access.
The 16 RCEP nations comprise half of the world population and will account for nearly 40 per cent of the global commerce and 35 per cent of the GDP.
The RCEP deal is now likely to be finalised next year in Vietnam.
A senior Philippine Trade and Industry official has said 18 of the 20 chapters of the proposed mega trade deal had been approved. (UNI)