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ASEAN agreement

Nov 19, 2019, 11.57 PM IST

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ASEAN AGREEMENT

Modi's successful visits abroad, decision to keep out of RCEP highlighted at BJP meeting

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal briefed BJP MPs on the issues in the parliamentary party's first meeting in the Winter session. Modi did not attend the meeting. BJP sources said Jaishankar told MPs that Modi's foreign visits have boosted India's standing and furthered the country's interests.

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  • The country's largest water purifier and vacuum cleaner maker has undertaken an exercise to clean its books and restructure operations.

    Negotiations have sputtered for several years, but the statement said the text of all 20 chapters was now complete "pending the resolution of one" member, believed to be India. Objections by India have dashed hopes of finalising the pact at this weekend's Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok.

    If India gets firm indication that its core interests will be accommodated then it can rethink its decision.

    Chinese Vice-Commerce Minister and top trade negotiator Wang Shouwen also expressed confidence that the differences would be resolved by the end of this year. Fifteen nations from the Asia-Pacific region – the 10 ASEAN nations plus Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – agreed on the outline of the trade pact on Monday.

    In his address at the annual India-ASEAN summit, PM Modi talked about the mutual coordination between India's vision of the Indo-Pacific and ASEAN Outlook for the strategically key region which has been witnessing growing Chinese assertiveness.

    India has been forcefully raising the issue of market access as well as protected lists of goods mainly to shield its domestic market as there have been fears that the country may be flooded with cheap Chinese agricultural and industrial products, once it signs the deal. The RCEP negotiations were launched by the ASEAN leaders and six other countries.

    In his opening address at the India-ASEAN summit, the prime minister said enhancing surface, air and maritime connectivity between India and 10 nations of the bloc will significantly boost regional trade and economic growth.

    "Congratulate PM @narendramodi for his bold and courageous decision to not join RCEP, since it was against our economic interests and national priorities. Modi hai to mumkin hai!," Piyush Goyal said in a series of tweets. He further added that the prime minister has shown his concern for farmers, dairy sector, MSMEs and domestic manufacturing.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced mounting pressures at home to take a tougher stance on the terms, and proved unbending as the RCEP negotiations came to a close. Thailand was pushing to have the deal finished this year but a final agreement might not come until 2020 now.

    Indian officials have concluded negotiations on most of the 25 chapters, and the rest would be concluded before November 4, when Prime Minister Modi will join leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc and five other countries for the summit.

    "Indian chemical industry is an industry-of-industries with a combined turnover of USD 160 billion. It is growing at 100 basis points more than the economic growth," ICC President Vijay Shankar told reporters. Indian chemical industry has the potential to be the engine of growth in the next decade, he said.

    "Our focus is to connect India's northeast with Thailand. northeast is being developed as a gateway to south-east Asia. This initiative will immensely strengthen India's act east policy and Thailand's Act West Policy," PM Modi said in his address at the 'Sawasdee PM Modi' event in Bangkok on day one of his visit for ASEAN, EAS and RCEP Summits.

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