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ASEAN hopes India rejoins trading bloc by offering new concessions

THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 15-member trading bloc that includes China, is now courting India to re-join, offering concessions that prevent dumping as well as checks on the influx of cheap Chinese goods, reports Bloomberg

26 May 2020 - 19:00

THE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the 15-member trading bloc that includes China, is now courting India to re-join, offering concessions that prevent dumping as well as checks on the influx of cheap Chinese goods, reports Bloomberg.

The bloc, whose members include Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and China, has written letter seeking India's return and expressed willingness to discuss its demands for new measures.



India Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said early this year that India was open to talks if the barriers were addressed. The joint leaders' statement last year had acknowledged India's 'significant outstanding issues' and had said member nations would work to resolve them 'in a mutually satisfactory way'.



Member states are keen to get India back as it offers a ready market of 1.3 billion people and could be key to its success in a post-pandemic world as economies collapse and protectionist policies are growing in Europe and the US.



India had opted out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, after seven years of negotiations, on the grounds that its 'core interest remained unresolved'.



Last November, just before the signing of the deal, India made last-minute demands to address its concerns, a move that irked other member nations.



According to the World Trade Organisation, global trade is set to fall between 13-32 per cent 2020, due to the disruption of normal economic activity. India's economy is heading for its first full-year contraction in more than four decades, as the world's biggest lockdown cripples business activity and consumption.


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