Even if India has a huge population of 1.3 billion it has a small role since it is not too open to the global market
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia will have no problem if India cancels its plan to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a Trade Ministry official said. India does not play a big role in the global market although it has a huge population, Director of ASEAN Negotiations of the Directorate General of International Trade Negotiations of the Trade Ministry Donna Gultom said during a discussion "RCEP Hopes Investment" in Jakarta Wednesday.

"Even if India has a huge population of 1.3 billion it has a small role since it is not too open to the global market," she said.

Because of its small role, the projection of the drop will only be two to three percent, she said.

As many as 15 RCEP member states have agreed to conclude the largest trade block agreement in the world next year although India has not agreed to it.

Related news: ASEAN economic ministers stress on RCEP finalization

The 15 RCEP member states comprising 10 ASEAN member countries, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, while five partner countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, have left the agreement for India's considerations.

India has almost the same conditions as Indonesia but it is among those very protectionist countries, she said.

"They seem to be trapped with their protectionism in such a way that they do not care about the fact that they will make (their goods) expensive for their population," she said.

Meanwhile, Deputy for International Economic Cooperation Coordination of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs Rizal Affandi Lukman said India is ready to bear losses if the country does not join the RCEP.

"If they do not join RCEP they will suffer losses because they will not become part of the RCEP regional integrity," he said.

Consequently, investors looking for opportunities to cooperate with India can do it with India only or through bilateral cooperation with ASEAN, without being integrated to be a part of the regional production networks, he said.

"If Prime Minister Modi wants to protect his country, of course, he has to pay the price. That is what the Chinese leader did during the early days of reform. China was once a closed market. But it turned out that the opening of the Chinese market was a way to modernize China," he said.

Related news: RCEP members pledge to complete negotiations in 2019

Translator: Ade Irma Junida/Suharto
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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