What Happened: Trade officials from member countries of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will meet in India over the weekend to resolve differences and reach a self-imposed deadline to finalize the free trade pact by November, The Economic Times reported Sept. 13.
Why It Matters: Indian officials are considering the potential benefits of the RCEP and are seemingly pushing for a quick conclusion to RCEP negotiations despite concerns that the deal could stifle domestic manufacturing jobs. Participating countries have already agreed to remove a contentious dispute-settlement mechanism from the agreement in an attempt to address concerns from other nations and quickly finalize the partnership.
Background: The Indian government fears the RCEP could threaten Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious "Make in India" campaign and further widen its $57 billion trade deficit with China.
- 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)