Why did India walk away from World's largest free trade deal ?
Time & Location
Dec 12, 2021, 8:00 PM
About the Event
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP is is a regional free trade agreement which includes 15 Asia-Pacific countries that together account for about 30 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of the global GDP. India too was invited to be a part of this gigantic multi-lateral trading bloc, and it enthusiastically participated in the negotiations, which extended over 7 years. However, in the eleventh hour India pulled out, leaving domestic and foreign observers baffled. Since then India’s decision has raised questions over its commitment to free trade.
Many scholars believe India missed a truly golden opportunity to integrate itself in the regional supply chains and become more competitive in trade. They fear other Asian countries that have joined the agreement will soon outpace India in economic growth. However others have dismissed these fears as unfounded. Not all free trade agreements are good they argue and point to some previous FTAs bringing limited to no benefits for India. RCEP they claim serves to further solidify China’s grip on markets across Asia-Pacific, and therefore India’s steering clear is prudent.
This begs the question isn’t India doing China a favour by exiting the field and allowing China unchallenged dominance across Asia-Pacific? Could it have been more effective for India to counter China within RCEP? What explains India’s walking away from the world’s largest free trade agreement?
In this session, Amb Kishan Rana will unravel and dissect one of the toughest decisions India has had to take in recent years and will explain the ramifications the decision will have for many years to come.