The next round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations will be taking place in Australia next month, it has been confirmed.
An Indian government official told the Economic Times that Perth will be hosting the forthcoming discussions, which are intended to bring the multinational trade deal a step closer to completion.
The representative said: "The 11th round of talks was concluded last month in Brunei. The 12th round of negotiations is scheduled at Perth in Australia from April 22nd."
A total 16 countries are involved in the proposed RCEP deal, including the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), plus India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Between them, the countries account for more than one-quarter of the world's economy, estimated at more than $75 trillion (£53.09 trillion). RCEP negotiations have been ongoing since 2012, and the agreement is being positioned as an alternative to the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Covering goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights, the details of the RCEP agreement remain under discussion, with many of the members seeking further concessions before they sign.
India, for example, is expected to press for greater market access within the services sector, particularly in terms of rules to ease the movement of professionals, while agreeing to open its market to ASEAN countries.
The Indian official said: "In the goods sector, India has asked the members to fulfil their commitments, as their current offers are not up to the level they have committed."