oppn parties Why India Refused To Join RCEP

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
The plot thickens in Rajasthan. Sachin Pilot removed as deputy chief minister and PCC chief. His loyalists dropped as ministers.
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Why India Refused To Join RCEP

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Ignoring suggestions by several experts that a free trade zone and increased trade between Asean nations and Japan, South Korea and Australia will be beneficial for the Indian economy, Prime Minister Modi did not agree for India to be a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which could have been the largest trading block in the world, in Bangkok.

Modi told the gathering that "Our farmers, traders, professionals and industries have stakes in such decisions. Equally important are the workers and consumers, who make India a huge market and the third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. When I measure the RCEP Agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permits me to join the RCEP".

India was chiefly concerned about cheap Chinese agricultural, industrial and dairy products flooding the country to the detriment of the Indian industry if a free trade agreement was signed. India has been very watchful and has been forcefully raising the issue of tariffs and access to markets vis-a-vis cheap Chinese goods of dubious quality.

Apart from the fear of Chinese goods flooding the markets, India was also piqued that its concern regarding moving of base year from 2014 to a year closer to the signing of the deal to reflect the latest duty structure was not addressed by the group. Equally important was the issue of transshipment of Chinese goods from other nations, issues of non-tariff barriers and commitments on the services sector. Then, there was no in-built safeguard to prevent import surge.

In the absence of these safeguards and commitments, Indian fears are valid. The Chinese are adept at identifying products that are needed in other countries and they set up huge factories to churn out these products at prices that no one can match, without any regard for quality. Further, given its landmass, China can flood the Indian market with agricultural and dairy products and worsen the farm distress in the country. The government has taken a wise decision by not joining RCEP since concerns raised by India were not addressed. The Agreement in its present form would have been harmful to all sectors in India.