China proposing RCEP without India?
China is reportedly proposing a new Asian free trade agreement without India, a development that exposes significant strains in negotiations over the 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. According to the report, China is deeply frustrated with India’s position on tariff reductions, which is at odds with other RCEP participants. Furthermore, China is also peeved over the “free and open Indo-Pacific” initiative being proposed by Japan and the US.
Finance ministers from RCEP nations are expected to meet on the sidelines of the Southeast Asian association’s summit in Bangkok that starts on June 20, 2019. In the last meeting in April, China proposed a 13-member FTA minus India, Australia and New Zealand, which was opposed by Japan and other Southeast Asian nations.