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The Nikkei View

RCEP countries must work to convince India to join trade pact

Agreement should move toward greater tariff liberalization, more rigorous rules

Leaders and trade ministers from the 15 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries pose for a virtual group photo during the signing ceremony hosted by Vietnam on Nov. 15.   © AP

Fifteen countries, including Japan, China and South Korea, have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a massive free trade agreement that covers much of East Asia. The creation of this free trade zone in the fast-growing Asian region is of great significance.

But India’s departure from the megadeal and the agreement’s relatively lax rules and standards leave it lacking. We would like to see continued efforts to grow RCEP, both by expanding the number of participating countries and by improving the quality of the trade pact.

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