Singapore, Nov 14 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for an early conclusion of a high-quality Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement that should be modern, comprehensive, balanced and mutually beneficial to the people of all countries.

He also called on fellow RCEP leaders to give mandate to trade ministers and negotiators to take the economic grouping forward, said Sudhanshu Pandey, additional secretary, the commerce ministry, during a media briefing here.

Prime Minister Modi reiterated that India was committed to early conclusion of a high-quality, comprehensive and balanced regional economic partnership agreement, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

The RCEP, involving 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) as well as China, Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Korea, would cover about half the world’s population and a third of its GDP.

The RCEP has concluded seven chapters of the total 16.

Prime Minister Modi noted that significant progress has been made in market access of negotiation for goods and called on similar efforts on services sectors.

“We need to make similar efforts to make progress in services negotiations as they constitute more than 50 per cent of the GDP of most of the RCEP countries. In future, services are going to be playing a very important role,” he said at the RCEP meeting.

He also stressed that any such multilateral agreement which has diverse circumstances and developmental requirements should be modern, comprehensive, balanced and mutually beneficial only then people of all countries will be benefited by such an agreement.

Responding to questions, Pandey said the Prime Minister has very clearly exhibited his support to the RCEP agreement and urged all leaders to give required mandate for “early conclusion” which means India is strongly committed to the RCEP.

Since the developmental circumstances of each country is different, therefore he urged that any multilateral agreement finalised should be modern, comprehensive, balanced and mutually beneficial.

At the summit, the leaders of the 16 negotiating countries reviewed the progress that has been made in the negotiations of the RCEP.

The negotiations among the countries in the bloc have been ongoing since 2012.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.