The agreement excludes the United States, which withdrew from an Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017. An Indonesian product containing, for example, Australian coins could expect tariffs elsewhere in the Asean Free Trade Area. “Ratification is likely to be difficult in national parliaments, both because of anti-commercial and anti-Chinese sentiment,” he added. Despite the size of the rcep agreement, it has been criticised for lack of ambition because it does not contain chapters on sustainability or workers` rights – an area that the EU sees as an increasingly important dimension of trade policy. The new free trade bloc will be larger than the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada and the European Union. The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), formerly the Bangkok Agreement, is a preferential tariff regime that aims to promote intra-regional trade by exchanging concessions agreed by member states. Its current members are Bangladesh, China, India, the Republic of Korea, the Lao People`s Republic and Sri Lanka. Mongolia has concluded bilateral negotiations on tariff concessions and is expected to become the seventh member. Europe will have to closely monitor the consequences of this week`s huge trade agreement between 15 Countries in Asia and the Pacific, which covers a third of the world`s population and gross domestic product. The fourth round, launched in October 2007, was to be closed by the Third Council of Ministers in October 2009. The objective of this round is to extend preference coverage to at least 50% of the number of customs positions of each member and to at least 20 to 25% of the value of bilateral trade. In addition, a customs concession of at least 50% (on average) will be introduced. To some extent, this means that there is a dynamic in trying to put closer trade between the EU and India back on the agenda.
However, this has always been a major challenge for Brussels, thanks to the EU`s long-standing complaints about the protection of agriculture and intellectual property in sectors such as the Pharmaceutical Industry in New Delhi. In the longer term, Li called the agreement a “victory for multilateralism and free trade.” A major concern for India was that it would be flooded with cheap products from China and elsewhere. India already has a large trade deficit with the RCEP countries and has sought specific protections for its industry and farmers. It was concerned that low tariffs would harm local producers.