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Australia urges India to join RCEP trade pact

Australia urges India to join RCEP trade pact

Mumbai: Australia has urged India to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact that will lead to stronger Asean unity.

"India should join the RCEP trade pact as openness encourages competition, fuels innovation and productivity. However, we respect India's current decision not to join the free-trade deal...," Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Simon Birmingham, said while speaking at the Asia Society here.

He further said that irrespective of India's position, Australia would continue to work with the South Asian giant in a bid to expand trade, which had previously been held back by the protectionist nature of the sub-continent.

"Not everyone, not even good friends and partners like Australia and India will easily agree to the same rules or the same degree of openness," he added. He said countries should stand firm in the face of coercive behaviour in all of its forms.

"And we should continue to embrace openness amongst each other, especially where we are confident of the fair approach brought by each other," he added.

Talking about the impact on trade due to the spread of coronavirus, he said it is tempting for some to suggest that at times of threat, nations should look inwards.

"But it is through looking outwards, particularly by supporting global markets and international trade, that the world has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty," he added.

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