India rejects China-backed Asian trade deal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi: cancels Kashmir's autonomy

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

China joined 14 countries on Monday in agreeing with terms for what could be the world’s biggest trade pact, but India pulled out at the last minute because the deal would hurt its farmers, businesses, workers, and consumers.

The Sino-U.S. trade war and rising protectionism have given new impetus to years of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which brings together the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

Members said the deal would be signed next year after the 15 countries without India reached agreement in Bangkok on the text and market access issues.

“Against the backdrop of a fast-changing global environment, the completion of the RCEP negotiations will demonstrate our collective commitment to an open trade and investment environment across the region,” the countries said in a statement.

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They opened the door to India potentially joining them later if the issues it has with the deal are resolved.

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he had to take into account the interests of Indian people.

“When I measure the RCEP Agreement concerning the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer,” Modi said in a speech in Bangkok, according to a government note.