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 India firm on protecting farmer interests in RCEP
National

India firm on protecting farmer interests in RCEP

Agency News

New Delhi, Oct 8: India will ensure protecting the farmers' interest in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement whose negotiations are in the final stages.

According to sources, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has communicated to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on the same.

The negotiations for the RCEP deal has reached a final phase and a final draft may be prepared by November, sources said.

The RCEP heads of states will meeti in November to announce a formal announcement.

Sources also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held meeting on this on Monday while Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a separate meeting last week with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar besides Mr Goyal on the matter.

The RCEP is a proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its six FTA partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will be going to Bangkok for the RCEP ministerial meet.

The dairy industry has demanded the government to exclude dairy products from the purview of the proposed trade pact.

The meeting with the Prime Minister on the mega free-trade pact was attended by Home Minister Shah, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, Commerce Minister Goyal and also Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri.

The central leaders also held separate meetings with academicians and trade experts on the same.

India is likely to announce reduction in duties on about 80 per cent of goods imported from China under the proposed agreement.

During his Singapore visit, Dr Jaishankar had said India remained concerned over the unfair market access to Indian products and the "protectionist policies" of China that have created a significant trade deficit between the two nations.

However, China was unwilling to offer tariff elimination in 90 per cent of traded goods.

The last round negotiations for RCEP were held in Danang, Vietnam in September and Commerce and Trade ministers are scheduled to meet between October 10 and 12 in Bangkok to give final shape to the deal.

India is likely to cut customs duties on 86 per cent of imports from Australia and New Zealand, and 90 per cent for products imported from Asean, Japan and South Korea.

The negotiations for the RCEP deal has reached a final phase and a final draft may be prepared by November, sources said. (UNI)