Letters to BS: Why was signing RCEP deal not in India's interest?

Topics RCEP | RCEP deal | rcep meet

(From left) New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha at the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) summit in Bangkok, Thailand, o
This refers to "India decides against signing RCEP trade deal, says terms not favourable" (November 4). It is good that India has decided not to sign up RCEP for now. Since India's interests were not addressed it did not make sense for it to sign on the dotted lines. Since India is mainly an import-driven economy, it is all the more imperative that we do not sign up with anything that will further increase our trade deficit. It is good that other countries that have signed up with RCEP have acknowledged this fact. Talks of having the RCEP started in 2012 and as recently as in 2017-18, India had offered to eliminate tariff on about 90 per cent of the items from ASEAN countries and 74 per cent from China alone, which meant India had conceded too much ground and it was not a winsome situation for us. 

In the past also such partnerships had proved adverse for India. Small businesses that had suffered post demonetisation and GST would have suffered a huge blow had India signed on. Indian Inc, small businessmen and farmers have all the reasons to be happy. But main task starts now for the government. Now it has to ensure that Make in India gets all the desired push and all the pending domestic reforms see the light of day to really make India's decision meaningful. We will have to improve our export by several notches and that can only happen when we produce the best quality products and give China a run for its money in the global market.

Bal Govind, Noida Letters can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to:

The Editor, Business Standard
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