What Happened: Indian and Chinese trade officials concluded their latest round of talks regarding the pending Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), The Hindu Business Line reported June 11. The two sides reportedly made progress on issues related to the exchange of services during the two-day meeting in New Delhi, but outstanding issues related to goods and investment remain.
Why It Matters: If finalized, the RCEP would be the world's largest free trade zone. But nearly 30 rounds of talks over the past six years have failed to yield an agreement — the latest being no exception. Disagreements between India and China continue to serve as the main sticking point. New Delhi has been reluctant to offer Beijing greater market access, fearing that a surge of Chinese imports would only widen its nearly $60 billion trade deficit and eliminate domestic manufacturing jobs.
Background: The RCEP is a proposed free trade zone between the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its six free trade partners (India, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand). The next meeting between the partners is scheduled to take place later this month in Australia.
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