After briefed by US, India says TPP a significant agreement

WASHINGTON, Oct 30: The 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal announced early this month is a significant agreement that accounts for 40 per cent of global economy, Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.

“It is one of the major agreements because it covers 40 per cent of the world economy,” Sitharaman said after she was given a detailed presentation on the recently agreed TPP by senior US officials at a very short notice request from India.

“We wanted to be informed on the developments in TPP. The presentation was very useful,” she said, adding that at this stage India just wanted to have more information about TPP.

“At this stage, India is engaging with many many groups to have a free trade agreements, preferential trade agreements. And while doing this, in the process, we certainly also want to be informed on what happened at TPP,” she said in response to a question.

The US, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations this month reached final agreement on the largest regional trade accord in history.

“We are understanding what TPP is all about. This was the first presentation. I think it is too early to comment on the details of it. I have to go back, look into what is being presented, go through it and then probably comment on it,” she said and refrained to respond to questions if India intends to join the grouping or if it is in the interest of India.

Because of an agreement it talks of more than WTO issues, it is interesting to know that it has made space for diverse members, Sitharaman told reporters after the conclusion of the US-India Trade Policy Forum meeting here, which was co-chaired by US Trade Representative Mike Froman.

“Can India afford to be not a member of TPP?” she was asked. “At this stage, India is engaging with many many groups,” she replied.

Seven of the ARSEP (ASEAN Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) members which consists of ASEAN and ASEAN FTA countries are party to the TPP.

“If everything goes fine somewhere in 2016 we should be near an agreement,” she said.

“India is looking at a block, or looking at two blocks which will consist of majority of our trading partners. So obviously we need to understand its (TPP) contours and that is why, before a month has passed after the TTP has been agreed upon, we have come here to understand. We get to know from the US what really are the substantive part of the TPP,” she added. (PTI)


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