The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega trade agreement among the 10 countries of ASEAN namely Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand and South Korea. It is very significant in terms of the strengthening and betterment of the Indian economy as well as trade.” Disclosing this here today at Hotel J.W. Marriott during the stakeholders consultation function conducted by the Centre for Regional Trade in collaboration with the Department of Industries & Commerce, Government of Punjab, Dr. Ram Upendra Das, President of CRT said that the RCEP countries account for 40 per cent of global GDP, 40 per cent of global trade and 45 per cent of world population. Continued growth, particularly in China, India and Indonesia could see total GDP in RCEP grow to over USD 100 trillion by 2050.Elaborating further, Dr. Das said that given the level of significance that this agreement holds for the Indian economy as a whole and for India’s trade, the Centre for Regional Trade (CRT), established by the Department of Commerce, Government Of India, has been mandated by the Government of India to conduct country-wide Stakeholders’ Consultations to gather inputs with respect to the Trade in Goods’ commitments that India should look for in its negotiations. Earlier a Stakeholders’ Consultations was held in Lucknow in December 2018, and Centre for Regional Trade would also be undertaking such consultations at different cities throughout India.
On the occasion, in his welcome remarks Mr. DPS Kharbanda, Director of Industries & Commerce, Punjab said that Punjab is State with a strong and robust Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) Sector. Exports from the State (as per DGCIS data) in FY 2017-18 were USD 5.79 billion. Exports grew by 9.66% over 2016-17. Top commodities of export are Rice & Basmati Rice, Yarn & Textiles, Readymade Garments, Hosiery, Cycle & Cycle Parts, Engineering Goods, Machine Tools, Hand Tools and Sports Goods. Top Districts leading in exports are Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala & Patiala. Punjab ranked at No. 2 in the country as per the last LEADS (Logistics Ease Across Different States) report on the Logistics Sector. The State has 13 Logistics Parks (CFSs & ICDs) and in fact has excess container handling capacity as compared to demand. The Consultations held by the CRT Research Team, led by Dr. Ram Upendra Das discussed the possibilities of market access for the exporters from Punjab to the RCEP member-countries were discussed. Similarly, the sensitivities that may arise out of the imports from these RCEP member-countries that could possibly affect the manufacturing sector in the Punjab region were also deliberated upon. In addition to this, the Non-Tariff Barriers and Rules of Origin were also discussed. The consultations provided valuable inputs in the context of the overall Trade in Goods negotiations as well as for improving India’s Trade Facilitation Infrastructure with the basic aim to help augment India’s overall trade with the RCEP member-countries.On the occasion among others present included AMD, PSIEC Mr. Vineet Kumar, Joint Director, Industries and Commerce Department, Punjab Mr. K.S. Brar and eminent names from the industrial and the exports sector.