9th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting for 2019 was held in Bangkok, Thailand from October 11-12, 2019. It was the last Ministerial before the 3rd Leaders Summit for 2019, which will be held in Bangkok on November 4, 2019. Trade ministers of 16 RCEP countries participated in the meeting.
- Indian delegation: Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Mr Piyush Goyal represented India at the meet.
- Out of 25 chapters, 21 chapters which are concluded, crucial chapters of Investment, Electronic Commerce, Rules of Origin and Trade Remedies are yet to be settled.
- iii. The meet failed to reach consensus on their positions with India’s tough stand on market access, investment and e-commerce. So, it will meet again on November 1, 2019.
- Meetings: Mr Goyal met Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment of Australia Mr Simon Birmingham and both discussed on various trade issues. He also met with his counterparts from Japan, Singapore, China and New Zealand during the meet.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to attend the 3rd Leaders Summit.
- Background: The 28th round of negotiations for RCEP at the expert level had concluded at Da Nang, Vietnam (September 19 – 27, 2019).
i. It is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) in which Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has FTA with 6 partners namely ASEAN–China FTA (ACFTA), ASEAN–Republic of Korea FTA(AKFTA), ASEAN–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP), ASEAN–India FTA (AIFTA) and ASEAN– Australia and New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). The RCEP negotiations had commenced in early 2013.
ii. Members: 10 ASEAN member states- Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and 6 ASEAN FTA partners- Australia, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand.