India has pulled out of joining the the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), according to a joint statement from the RCEP Summit held in Bangkok over the weekend.
“India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved,” read the joint statement.
“All RCEP Participating Countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues,” added the statement.
Leaders from ASEAN and the largest Asian-Pacific economies are still on the way to creating the world’s largest trading bloc that will include Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand. The deal is set to be finalized by the first half of 2020.
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi believed joining the trading bloc didn’t align with his country’s interests. The main concern centered around cheap Chinese goods flooding the Indian market.
“When I measure the RCEP Agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer,” said Modi in an interview with NDTV. “Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permit me to join RCEP.”