Sri Lanka and Bangladesh's Consideration to Join RCEP
What is RCEP, and why are Sri Lanka and Bangladesh considering joining it?
RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is a 15-nation trading bloc that includes major economies like China, Japan, and South Korea.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are considering joining RCEP to access this vast trade bloc, which represents 30% of the global GDP. They see it as an opportunity to diversify their markets, access ASEAN-led trade, and potentially boost their economies.
Has Sri Lanka officially applied to join RCEP?
Yes, Sri Lanka has applied for RCEP membership, recognizing the potential benefits of being part of this trade agreement.
What about Bangladesh's decision to join RCEP?
Bangladesh has not yet pursued RCEP membership officially. They are waiting for the election mandate before making a decision, with the elections scheduled for January 2024.
How is India responding to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh's interest in RCEP?
India has not officially responded to their intentions. However, India's neighbors joining RCEP could be a development of concern for India, as it would open up markets in its vicinity to a group dominated by Chinese trade.
Why did India pull out of RCEP talks?
India withdrew from RCEP talks in 2019 due to concerns over service mobility, the fear of Chinese goods flooding the market, objections from the agriculture sector, and concerns from small businesses. India has not indicated a review of its decision.
What factors are driving Sri Lanka and Bangladesh's shift towards more open trade policies?
Both countries are recognizing the importance of regional markets, especially in times of crisis. Sri Lanka has missed opportunities with regional groupings in the past and aims to become more competitive internationally. Bangladesh, facing graduation from Least Developed Country status, seeks to boost exports and simplify trade agreements by joining RCEP.
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