RCEP talks continue without India

April 28, 2020: Senior officials from 15 countries involved in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership held a virtual meeting on April 20-24 2020. India did not take part.

India also skipped negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, in February, having said in November 2019 that it wanted to pull out, with one concern being that the draft agreement would lead to a wider trade deficit with China.

The 16 countries, including Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, began talks in 2013 and currently aim to conclude a deal by November. Japan has offered to help India resolve the "outstanding issues" keeping it from returning to the negotiations.

If India does not take part, there is little for either Japan or Australia in the proposal, since they already have free trade agreements with all the other countries.