India rejects China-backed Asian trade deal, as 15 others to forge ahead


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India rejects China-backed Asian trade deal, as 15 others to forge ahead

On Monday, the 4th of November 2019, Beijing had agreed to join an existing trade pact of 14 Southeast Asian nations, what might have been the world’s largest trade bloc unless India had decided to pull itself out of the deal at a last-ditch call over the grounds that the China-backed Asian trade deal would not address Delhi’s trade concerns over market access and it might potentially harm Indian farmers, workers, consumers and businesses.

In point of fact, a 16-month long costlier and protracted trade war between the world’s first- and second-largest economy, Washington and Beijing respectively, had prompted up a swath of protectionist acts at every corners of the world ranging from a EU-Mercosur trade pact of EU and four of the largest South American economies to a potential reform of EU involving a Brexit to a northern American free trade treaty between US, Mexico and Canada, which eventually prodded the Southeast Asian nations to form a 10-member association of RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) trade pact and had brought together other nations such as India, China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

Despite India’s last-minute decision to pull out of the deal, the 15-member association of RCEP had announced on Monday (November 4th) that an RCEP trade agreement would be signed as early as by February 2020, while RCEP’s gateway for India would still be wide open by then, as the countries said in a statement, “Against the backdrop of a fast-changing global environment, the completion of the RCEP negotiations will demonstrate our collective commitment to an open trade and investment environment across the region. ”