Sat, 23 Nov 2019

Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Oct 12 (ANI): Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India's concern regarding the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be "taken into consideration".

"One of the issues touched upon was RCEP. Prime Minister said in this regard that India looks forward to this but it is important that RCEP is balanced. That the balance is maintained between trading good trading services and investments. President Xi has noted this and said that China and India are ready to discuss it further and Indian concern will be taken into consideration," said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

Gokhale remarks come after India and China concluded the second informal summit in the coastal town of Mamallapuram.

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between six partners namely People's Republic of China (ACFTA), Republic of Korea (AKFTA), Japan (AJCEP), India (AIFTA) and Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA).

The RCEP negotiations were launched by leaders from 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) and 6 ASEAN FTA partners (Australia, People's Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand).

India has raised concerns regarding market access and other issues leading to an imbalance of trade between some of the partner countries.

The terms of RCEP are yet to be finalised. So far 28 rounds of expert-level negotiations have taken place. Moreover, the ninth round of ministerial meeting is underway in Bangkok. This will be the last ministerial meeting before the third Leaders Summit slated to be held on November 4 in Bangkok which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend.

The 28th round of negotiations for RCEP at the expert-level had concluded at Da Nang, Vietnam, held from September 19 to 27 this year.

In that round of negotiations, a meeting of the trade negotiating committee was held in which senior officials participated in discussions regarding market access on trade in goods, trade in services and investment as well as on other areas like rules of origin, intellectual property, and electronic commerce.

During the two-day informal summit in Mamallapuram, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi held a one-on-one discussion on various issues in the coastal historic city. They also discussed matters related to trade and the economy.

The two leaders started the second day of the summit with one-to-one talks which lasted for over an hour. Xi during the delegation-level talks said that he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had "heart-to-heart" and "candid discussions like friends" on bilateral ties during the second informal summit here.

They concluded the summit with delegation-level talks between India and China. (ANI)

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