The Asean Secretariat has invited India to participate in a meeting called in Bali on February 3 and 4 on RCEP agreement to sort out concerns of New Delhi, an official said.
India at a meeting in November last year in Bangkok decided to withdraw from this mega free-trade agreement as its concerns were not addressed adequately by the RCEP.
“India has received the invitation for the meeting but it has not yet taken any decision on this,” the official said.
The meeting in Bali will be held at a chief negotiator level.
The RCEP, comprising 10-member Asean bloc and six other countries India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is engaged in negotiations for a free-trade pact. Meanwhile, speaking at a WEF session in Davos, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said, “We believe if RCEP nations provide adequate protection against circumvention of product origin rules, adequate transparency is brought in the trading practices, if non-tariff barriers can be addressed, there is scope for discussion”.
Japan had earlier indicated that efforts were on to make India join the ambitious Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), saying all member countries of the grouping were committed to address New Delhi’s concerns.
Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue earlier in the month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India had not closed its doors on the RCEP and would carry out a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate its merit.