Topic– Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
1) India should carefully weigh the pros and cons of exiting the RCEP. Discuss. (250 words)
Why this question
This is an old topic and has been sufficiently covered in previous questions. However, there have been calls for India to urgently make the decision of joining the RCEP at earnest or later. This warrants a revisit of the issue and a discussion on the pros and cons of joining RCEP.
Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to write in detail about the pros and cons of India joining RCEP.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few lines about the negotiating members of RCEP- 10 Asean countries and their six FTA partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. Mention the urgency to decide on RCEP and mention that from India’s point of view, the RCEP presents a decisive platform which could influence its strategic and economic status in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Discuss the pros of joining RCEP. e.g More access to ASEAN markets, In addition to facilitating foreign direct investment, the RCEP will create opportunities for Indian companies to access new markets. This is because the structure of manufacturing in many of these countries is becoming more and more sophisticated, resulting in a “servicification” of manufacturing, it would complement India’s existing free trade agreements with the ASEAN and some of its member countries. It can address challenges emanating from implementation concerns vis-à-vis overlapping agreements, which is creating a “noodle bowl” situation obstructing effective utilization of these FTAs; would help India streamline the rules and regulations of doing trade, which will reduce trade costs; RCEP will facilitate India’s integration into sophisticated “regional production networks”.
- Discuss the cons. E.g more access to China especially will hurt domestic industry and make in India programme, proper standards and processes are not in place in India restricting India’s capacity to prevent imports of inferior quality; India’s exports to RCEP account for about 15% of its total exports and imports from RCEP comprise 35% of total imports. India’s trade deficit with RCEP has risen from $9 billion in FY05 to $83 billion in FY17, of which China alone accounts for over 60% of the deficit; more developed RCEP countries such as Australia and Singapore have been unwilling to accommodate India’s demands to liberalise their services regime and allow freer mobility of Indian workers etc.
Conclusion- Bring out the need to exercise due attention and care in concluding the RCEP and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the issue.