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India Declined to Join RCEP

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, according a number of Indian media sources, India has decided not to join The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is mainly led by China, as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) from which the U.S. withdrew under President Trump. The RCEP negotiations started in 2012 and are expected to be signed next year, without India. The Indian announcement sent a shockwave across China. According to multiple sources, India’s decision was mainly based on the concerns that the negotiation neglected some of India’s core interests and the agreement requires opening up the Indian services market to 15 countries as well as lowering tariffs on Chinese products. India is especially worried about China taking advantage of India’s weak economic situation and “eating into India’s breakfast and lunch.” India’s hesitation was the reason for the delayed negotiation and the other 15 countries have been waiting. Several internal sources also said that India raised some tough last-minute new conditions.

Source: Sina, November 4, 2019