Bloomberg | Jun 04, 2020 10:18
(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand and its partners in a proposed Asia trade bloc continue to seek ways to bring India into the group, arguing that it will have a key role as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts global trade.
The bloc comprising 15 nations -- Asean countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and China -- has been negotiating for several years to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, but in November India opted out of the talks. Last month the group wrote a letter seeking India’s return and expressed a willingness to discuss some of its demands.
“What we are trying to do along with other RCEP colleagues is to try to find a way for there to be an on-ramp that allows India an accelerated way back into the agreement,” Vangelis Vitalis, deputy secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told a parliamentary select committee Thursday in Wellington. “It would be even more important for India to be part of the agreement in the post-Covid space as we see some of the challenges starting to emerge around the region.”
The bloc, which makes up 30% of global trade and 58% of New Zealand exports, hopes to sign the RCEP agreement by the end of the year, he said.
“The message from India has not been very encouraging but from a New Zealand perspective we would like to find a way for India to be a participant,” he said.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Written By: Bloomberg
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