Trade Bodies Hail Indian Government’s Decision To Walk Out Of RCEPPrime Minister Narendra Modi in Thailand (PMO)

Days after a government-appointed panel backed the country's entry to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the government on Monday (4 November) decided to stay away from the 16-nation free-trade deal. It has been hailed by various trade bodies and experts.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a Delhi-based traders group, said the Indian trade, industry, and service sectors would have been compromised due to this trade pact.

CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal termed the RCEP a draconian treaty.

Many small firms feared that Chinese companies would flood the Indian market with cheap goods if India joined the RCEP, throwing small Indian entities out of the business.

Director (economic and consultancy) at India's Apparel Export Promotion Council (APEC), Chandrima Chatterjee said, it could have impacted the entire apparel industry value-chain.

"In case of certain markets we are aggressive, and defensive in case of others. In this case, we would have been more defensive. Everybody was apprehensive of losses (as a result of the deal)," she said.

The Sino-Indian trade is hugely imbalanced in favour of China. Though over the years, bilateral trade has increased substantially, it remained in favour of China.

As per the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), bilateral trade increased to $87.06 billion by 2018-19 from $2.92 billion in 2000-01. In FY19, India's exports to China was $16.75 billion, showing a growth of 25.62 per cent; whereas Chinese exports to India was $70.31 billion.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of the ASEAN -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam -- and its six FTA partners China, Japan, India, S Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

RCEP member states account for 3.4 billion people with a total gross domestic product of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 per cent of the global GDP.

(With inputs from IANS)

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