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Sitharaman: regional grouping can’t have ‘one size fits all’ approach

OUr Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 02, 2014 Published on December 02, 2014

India is not comfortable giving equal tariff concessions to all partner countries

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cautioned partner countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade pact under negotiation now, that there couldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’ solution to issues.

The minister’s statement is significant as India is not comfortable giving equal tariff concessions to all partner countries of RCEP, which includes the 10-member Asean, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

RCEP, once implemented, is slated to be the largest free trade pact in the world.

“We must realise that this is a complex negotiation among so many countries and across many areas. There is no one size fit all solution and, hence, our approach must be cautious and well calibrated,” the Minister said at the ongoing sixth round of talks in Noida.

India would remain constructive in the RCEP negotiations and hopes that all members understand the imperatives of each other as we progress, Sitharaman added.

India is facing pressure from other members to agree to separate a goods agreement from services and grant tariff cuts to all members.

Concessions to China

The country is uncomfortable in giving concessions to China as the domestic industry is apprehensive of being swamped with Chinese goods once that happens.

India is also unwilling to offer market access to New Zealand and Australia similar to what it offers the Aswan, Japan and South Korea, as all three are its FTA partners.

Published on December 02, 2014
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