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What has been India’s experience with FTAs in the past? Why are FTAs not working as expected for India? What are the steps taken by India to strengthen its existing FTAs? Explain.

Topic: GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. What has been India’s experience with FTAs in the past? Why are FTAs not working as expected for India? What are the steps taken by India to strengthen its existing FTAs? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

Recently, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was finally signed with participation of 15 members including 10 ASEAN member countries, after over a decade of negotiations. While it is being described as the world’s largest free trading agreement, India had decided against joining RCEP last year citing several concerns.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the India’s experience with FTAs in the past and why are FTAs not working as expected for India.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by discussing what FTA’s are.

Body:

FTAs are arrangements between two or more countries or trading blocs that primarily agree to reduce or eliminate customs tariff and nontariff barriers on substantial trade between them.

Then discuss the past experiences of India with respect to FTAs. Explain what significance do free trade/FTAs hold for India in the present global scenario.

Explain India’s experience in detail, while presenting the case of India and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Discuss the steps taken by India to strengthen its existing FTAs.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balance opinion and suggest way forward.