Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 8 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/7/19

Asia's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): The RCEP Train Left the Station, and India, Behind

By       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
(# of views)   No comments
Author 73066
Message Pepe Escobar
Become a Fan
  (184 fans)

From Global Research

Biggest story at ASEAN was convergence of moves toward Asia integration, leaving Delhi out for now

PM Shri Narendra Modi
PM Shri Narendra Modi
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Bharatiya Janata Party)
  Details   DMCA

A pan-Asia high-speed train has left the station and India behind. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would have been the largest free trade deal in the world, was not signed in Bangkok. It will probably be signed next year in Vietnam, assuming New Delhi goes beyond what ASEAN, with diplomatic finesse barely concealing frustration, described as "outstanding issues, which remain unresolved."

The partnership uniting 16 nations the ASEAN 10 plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and, in theory, India, would have congregated 3.56 billion people and 29% of world trade.

Predictably, it was billed as the big story among the slew of high-profile meetings linked to the 35th ASEAN summit in Thailand, as RCEP de facto further integrates Asian economies with China just as the Trump administration is engaged in a full spectrum battle against everything from the Belt and Road Initiative to Made in China 2025.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng was blunt:

"It's the 15 nations that have decided to move forward first." And he added "there won't be any problem for the 15 nations to sign RCEP next year," when Vietnam takes over as the chair of ASEAN.

It's not hard to figure out where the "problem" lies.

Mahathir "disappointed"

Diplomats confirmed that New Delhi came up with a string of last-minute demands in Thailand, forcing many to work deep into the night with no success. Thailand's Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, tried to put on a brave face:

"The negotiation last night was conclusive."

It was not. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad whose facial expression in the family photo was priceless, as he shook hands with Aung San Suu Kyi on his left and nobody on his right had already given away the game.

"We're very disappointed," he said, adding: "One country is making demands we cannot accept."

ASEAN, that elaborate monument to punctilious protocol and face-saving, insists the few outstanding issues "will be resolved by February 2020," with the text of all 20 RCEP chapters complete "pending the resolution of one" member.

RCEP dwells across a large territory, covering trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property and dispute resolution. The Indian "problem" is extremely complex. India in fact already has a free trade agreement with ASEAN.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Pepe Escobar Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

You Want War? Russia is Ready for War

Why Putin is driving Washington nuts

Why Qatar wants to invade Syria

All aboard the New Silk Road(s)

It was Putin's missile?

Where is Prince Bandar?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

No comments