Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, who is also serving as a present Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s special trade envoy for India, said on Friday that India’s decision to walk out of the regional comprehensive economic partnership RCEP is a smart and shrewd move.
RCEP is the ASEAN-led mega trade deal in which 10 countries are participating to boost their trade and business.
Tony Abbott said that after walking out of the deal, India has proved itself as a trusted and reliable trade partner of Australia and has replaced Beijing.
He further said that New Delhi and Canberra can now make an even bigger deal by negotiating the terms and conditions for an early harvest trade deal by the end of this year. The early harvest trade deal will further benefit the two countries in signing a larger free trade agreement (FTA) which is officially known as Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
Abort further said that Australia had decided to join RCEP a long time ago, and was optimistic about Beijing but now the country has realised that China is using trade partnerships for its own politics and geopolitics.
When India decided to walk out of RCEP, I think that was a very smart move and this decision will put India and Australia’s bilateral talks back into action, he said.
The RCEP is currently the world’s largest FTA that has been signed by 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) members.
Tony Abbott is presently in India on a three-day tour to take stock of bilateral FTA negotiations. He visited New Delhi and Mumbai to meet trade officials and businessmen. India and Australia are expecting to agree on an early harvest package, or an interim free trade pact, by Christmas this year.