Union Government constitutes Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into issues related to the proposed mega free trade agreement Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

The Union government has constituted a 4-member Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu, to look into issues related to the proposed mega free trade agreement Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The GoM will deliberate upon the issues being raised by the industry as well as government departments. There is concern across ministries that joining the accord could severely dent local manufacturing and jobs and that China’s $60-billion trade surplus with India will swell even further as it floods the market with cheap goods at zero tariff. Apart from Prabhu, the panel comprises interim finance minister Piyush Goyal, defence minister (former commerce minister) Nirmala Sitharaman and housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri. The RCEP bloc consists of 10 ASEAN group 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 first meeting of this group is expected to be held on 10 August.

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