The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it will welcome India into the RCEP at an “early date” as Beijing will continue to work with all parties to resolve outstanding issues through negotiation.
The statement came a day after India opted out of the deal after industrial sectors including dairy, pharmaceutical, chemical and textiles opposed the move suspecting that Beijing would use the pact to dump products at much lower cost.
The Chinese ministry on Tuesday, however, claimed that Beijing does not pursue a trade surplus against India. Over the past five years, China's imports from India have increased an estimated 15 percent, according to reports.
“The two sides should explore more ways and comprehensive measures to step up cooperation in investment, production capacity and tourism, making the pie even bigger and fostering balanced and sustainable trade relations,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated during a press briefing in Beijing.
Geng stressed that the RCEP is an open initiative stating that, “once signed and put in place, it will help Indian goods to enter China's and other participating countries' markets as well. This is a two-way and complementary arrangement”.
Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday stated that India is out of the trade agreement for now but is “open for further talks”.
The Indian government earlier expressed concern over the rising trade deficit with China and other countries that constitute the RCEP. As per the commerce ministry document, India's trade deficit with RCEP nations has almost doubled, to around $105 billion in 2018-2019, in comparison to $54 billion in 2013-2014. Of India's $105 billion trade deficit with RCEP countries, China accounts for $53 billion.
The RCEP comprises the 10-nation Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc as well as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and China. The RCEP, once implemented, will create the world's largest trading bloc, accounting for about half of the world’s population, 25 percent of global GDP, and 30 percent of global trade.