Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take up India’s unresolved issues in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement at the leaders’ summit next month if the 16 members are unable to resolve them over the next few days.
As per a 10-day work plan of 14 issues compiled by member countries, at least five demands pertain to India specifically. India wants to change the base year to apply reduced tariffs to 2019, from 2013; an auto trigger mechanism to curb sudden surges in imports and decide on which products it doesn’t want to offer the same tariff concessions to all countries; and future domestic policy concessions in investment and services sectors (called ‘ratchet’ in trade parlance).
“These issues need to be resolved by October 22. Those not closed by then, will be frozen through the leaders’ decision,” said a source aware of the development.
Intense bilateral parleys are expected in the next 10 days as Indian negotiators finetune the position on these crucial issues, especially on strict origin norms to keep in check Chinese imports.