By Erric Permana
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AA) – The Indonesian government is optimistic that India will continue to participate in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) cooperation.
“There are a number of chapters in the pact that have not yet been finalized. Basically, India did not reject nor accept the cooperation,” said the Indonesian trade minister on Wednesday.
"It will take time. We also can not specify the time. Hopefully there will be better developments next year," said Agus Suparmanto during press conference at the Presidential Palace Complex, in Jakarta.
He stressed that negotiations with India are still underway so it opens to any possibilities.
"During ASEAN Summit, India showed their interest to join. As many as 15 countries have already joined, so if India decides to join, it will be the world’s largest trade deal," the minister explained.
RCEP includes the 10-member group of Southeast Asian nations, as well as China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Fifteen out of 16 nations have concluded “text-based” negotiations for all 20 chapters and essentially all their market access issues.
"We noted 15 RCEP Participating Countries have concluded text-based negotiations; and tasked legal scrubbing by them to commence for signing in 2020,’ the official leaders’ statement from ASEAN said.
Meanwhile, India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved.
However, 15 RCEP participating countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way.
"India's final decision will depend on the best resolution of these issues," according to the joint statement released on Monday in Bangkok.
Previously, many medias reported that India dropped out of the RCEP free trade deal.