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PM chairs meet to decide on RCEP

Top ministers of the Modi government held a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to decide on whether India should go ahead with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal. On condition of anonymity, a government official admitted, “This is the meeting which will decide whether we are in or out of RCEP.” India is still looking for ways to handle China’s involvement in the RCEP, with whom its trade deficit reached US$ 53.6 billion in 2018-19, out of a total deficit of US$ 105 billion with RCEP nations. Therefore India is understandably apprehensive about the impact of further liberalization in tariffs on its imports, which would be detrimental to its indigenous industry. Moreover, non-tariff barriers by China that support its state-owned enterprises imply that India would not have too much to gain in terms of exports to the Middle Kingdom.