oppn parties Why India Refused To Join RCEP

News Snippets

  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
oppn parties
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.