NEW DELHI: India will press for a balanced and inclusive outcome of proposed RCEP deal of 16 nations during a trade ministers' meet which began in Singapore today.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is leading the Indian delegation to the sixth RCEP trade ministers' meet there.
"India has been constructively engaged in RCEP negotiations with an aim to work towards a high quality, balanced and inclusive outcomes that take into consideration sensitivities and interests of member countries," the commerce ministry said in a statement.
It said the 16 trade ministers will guide trade negotiating committee of RCEP to enable negotiations move forward.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega trade pact that aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.
The bloc comprises 10 Asean members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners - India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The meeting also assumes significance as the negotiations are moving at a slow pace even as the talks for the deal started in November 2012.
So far, 23 rounds of talks are completed.
Further, the statement said Prabhu will take part in the 6th East-Asia Economic Ministers' meeting on September 1.
"The ministers will deliberate on the current global economic situation and exchange views on promotion of rule-based multilateral trading system and its importance to the stability and effective functioning of the global economic order," it said.
This will be followed by the India-Asean Economic Ministers' Meeting which will take stock of the current level of trade and economic engagement between India and Asean.
During this meet, Prabhu will take up the issue of initiating the review meeting of the India-Asean free trade agreement to enhance utilisation of the bilateral pact for mutual benefit.
IAsean is among the fastest growing markets in the world and presents substantial trade and investment opportunities for India, it said.
The 10-nation bloc has emerged as the second largest trade partner of India in 2017-18 with bilateral trade valued at USD 81.33 billion.