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Morning News: World's largest trade pact sealed at Asean summit as India pulls out

Leaders at the ASEAN summit in Bangkok Source: AAP

East Asia Summit participants - including Australia and New Zealand - have not been able to coax India to join the mammoth RCEP trade deal.

The world's biggest trade deal is likely to move forward without India for the time being, diplomats and officials said Monday, as negotiators pushed to finalise the sprawling Asian pact backed by China.

The Bangkok summit failed to resolve the impasse between India and the other 15 nations - including both Australia and New Zealand - who are striving to achieve the gargantuan RCEP free trade agreement.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was meant to account for 30 per cent of global GDP and loop in half of the world's people.

But India dug in over concerns about market access, fearing its domestic industries would be hit hard if the country was flooded by cheap Made-in-China goods.

"We have conveyed to the participating countries that we will not be joining the RCEP," Vijay Thakur Singh, a senior diplomat in charge of East Asia for India's foreign ministry, told reporters.

"Our decision was guided by the impact this agreement will have on the ordinary human beings of India and livelihood of people, including the poorest of the poor," she said.

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