World news – Australia and New Zealand prepare to sign an RCEP trade agreement with 14 other countries

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New Zealand and 14 other Asia-Pacific countries are due to sign a big trade deal on Sunday.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – which includes the ASEAN countries in addition to its six free trade agreement partners, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – has been under negotiation since 2012.

After initial participation in the talks, India pulled out last year, citing concerns about its growing trade deficit with China and the impact of major dairy producers such as Australia and New Zealand on its home market..

The change in India’s position was a blow to New Zealand, which was able to make big gains by gaining access to its protected market, especially for exports such as dairy products..

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New Zealand already has strong access to most of the markets of other RCEP member countries – through CPTPP (Comprehensive and Advanced Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) or China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – but no deal with India.

The RCEP leaves the door open for India to join at a later date.

However, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damian O’Connor both said that even without India, the deal would have benefits over time, by providing a common set of bases across the region..

Trade analyst Stephen Jacoby said this week that the absence of India would be a disincentive to the deal.

“This is a diminishing opportunity because India is the only one with whom we do not have a free trade agreement (FTA) and we very much want a free trade agreement with them, and there is a lot we can do with a great country,” he told RNZ.

“But India has also not been bound by such a trade agreement, and this kind of setting rules and getting India out is not very good, either for the world or I think India.

“What we’re looking at from RCEP is to expand or align some of the commitments in some way, and try to harmonize them..

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Trade Agreement, Asia Pacific

World News – African Union – New Zealand prepares to sign RCEP trade agreement with 14 other countries

Ref: https://www.stuff.co.nz

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