RCEP should be concluded including India: Japan

RCEP should be concluded including India: Japan

Agency News

Tokyo, Nov 24: The ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) should be concluded by all the original 16 member nations including India, says Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

Earlier this month at the RCEP summit in Bangkok, India opted out of the Asia-Pacific free trade arrangement, citing the deal’s potential impact on the livelihoods of its most vulnerable citizens and that it did not get any credible assurance for the country on market access and non-tariff barriers.

Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama soon after the Bangkok meet said that Tokyo would work toward a deal that includes India.

"Our country wants to play a leading role toward reaching an early agreement between all 16 countries, including India, with the aim of signing it in 2020,” he said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also said that “Japan hopes to continue playing a leading role toward the signing of a RCEP agreement of 16 countries including India.” At Nagoya on Saturday, Extenal Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a "bilateral meeting" with Motegi.

“Concluded Nagoya #G20 with a bilateral meeting with Japanese FM @moteging. Looking forward to welcoming him in India soon," he tweeted. Jaishankar will have another meeting with Motegi, on the margins of the Inaugural 2+2 India-Japan ministerial meeting on November 30 where the issue of India rejoining the negotiations is likely to figure. Motegi, serving as the chairman of the G-20 foreign ministers gathering in Nagoya, said at the end of G2o Foreign Ministers meeting at Nagoya that the RCEP is an important framework to galvanise free trade across the globe.

The RCEP brings together Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, as well as the ASEAN states of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Covering a third of the world’s economy, the RCEP has a history of missed deadlines. Talks had begun in 2013 with the initial goal of wrapping them up in 2015. The ministers from the world's 20 major economies agreed on Saturday that it is "urgent" to reform the World Trade Organization, amid an escalating U.S.-China tit-for-tat tariff trade war.

"As trust in the multilateral framework is now being undermined, the G-20 has shared the view that the WTO should be reformed so that it can address several current issues," Motegi was quoted by the Japanese Kyodo news as saying after the end of the two-day meeting in Japan's central city.

At the gathering, the foreign ministers discussed reforms to the WTO, as Japan, the United States and other countries are pushing for the Geneva-based organization to improve its dispute settlement system -- a point touched on in a declaration issued by G-20 leaders after their summit in Osaka in June.

The G-20 consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The latest meeting was wrapped up with no release of a joint statement. (UNI)