Officials from ASEAN member states and the five leading Asian-Pacific economies hope to bring India into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) fold in Bangkok on Saturday.
Nationalists in the India have condemned the idea of the country signing onto a China-led trade deal that could alter tariffs on products and flood the Indian market with cheap Chinese products.
Indian Trade Minister Piyush Goyal will meet with trade officials from China, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia to see if they can finalize a regional trade deal that will encompass half of the world’s population and include more than 30 percent of global GDP.
Analyst believe the EU-style trade pact could begin in 2020 if negotiators finalize it in Bangkok over the weekend.
“If the negotiations can be finalized in the meeting in Bangkok, then the deal is likely to be signed by mid-2020,” said Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit to reporters in Beijing at the 8th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting.