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What has India been opposing rejoining RCEP over China concerns?

  Jun 13, 2020

What has India been opposing rejoining RCEP over China concerns?

  1. As the deadline for a response to a fresh proposal of India rejoining negotiations on the ASEAN-led trade Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) approached recently, India has indicated that due to global post-COVID-19 concerns over China had strengthened India’s opposition to the grouping.
  2. According to India, due to Covid-19, the countries experienced that it would be detrimental for them to be overly dependent on imports from China or one country and hence taken the decision to stay out of the RCEP.
  3. Australia and Japan have been at the forefront of efforts to convince India to rejoin the RCEP as a possible counterweight to China in the grouping that would represent a third of global trade.
  4. As per their view, If India rejoins the RCEP, there would be no better time than now, because it would send a signal to the world that not only is India an attractive place to invest, but also, its potential of being a global manufacturing hub as envisaged by the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy was realisable.
  5. India’s reservations are also due to the huge trade deficit it runs with RCEP nations which is close to $105 billion dollars.
  6. If India agrees to this deal,this deficit is expected to increase given India’s weak industrial base as compared to China
  7. Moreover India’s unorganised dairy market would be taken over by the products from New Zealand.
  8. Since India already has different bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with these nations separately e.g India-ASEAN Free trade agreement, there does not arise any special need for RCEP as of now.