Massive Asia-Pacific free-trade pact to go ahead without India
Australia, China, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand and 10 ASEAN countries have put their names to a new trading bloc this week, despite India pulling out at the last minute.
Negotiations for the trade pact for the region’s top economies began in 2013 and will account for almost a third of the world’s gross domestic product. With trade frictions between the U.S and China continuing, the new trade pact comes at the right time for regional economies.
The RCEP, which is due to start next year, will help strengthen regional integration by allowing the free movement of goods, services and capital within the region.
There are hopes the trade pact will lead to renewed economic opportunities, support domestic job creation and help countries sustain strong growth in the long run.
Asia-Pacific already has the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11). This trade pact replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership after the U.S withdrew.
Indian officials said it would likely keep the possibility of joining the RCEP agreement at a later date.