What Happened: The member states of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have called on India to resolve its demands for the trade agreement on a bilateral basis ahead of a Nov. 4 summit, during which members are expected to announce the conclusion of negotiations, Livemint reported Oct. 15.
Why It Matters: The self-imposed deadline is raising pressure on India to address its remaining demands regarding the RCEP. If New Delhi succeeds in resolving the disagreements, it would represent a significant step toward launching the 16-member trade bloc. But if the deadline passes without a compromise, it could result in either a delay or mean that the RCEP would move forward without Indian participation, which is unlikely.
Background: The RCEP is a proposed 16-member free trade zone that includes the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its six free trade partners — India, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand.
- Wary of China, Modi Courts India's Neighbors (Sept. 4, 2019)
- Asian Free Trade Proposal Is Broad in Scope, Narrow in Focus (March 25, 2019)
- Trade Profile: ASEAN Pulls the Threads Together (Nov. 20, 2017)