India to study impacts of RCEP trade deal

28 November 2018: Strong resistance to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) from both civil society and domestic industry in India has caused their Government to commission a study on potential gains or losses to its economy from the “free” trade deal, writes Banikinkar Pattanayak. Comprehensive studies are not frequently conducted before or after countries sign such trade agreements, so the move is welcomed by many.

The RCEP has been strongly resisted by communities in many of the RCEP partner countries, which besides India include China, the US, Japan, Korea, Australia, NZ and the 10 South East-Asian ASEAN countries. These include 50% of the world’s population.

India has been facing increasing pressure from RCEP partners to further open up its markets to international competitors. The Indian government decided earlier this year however, not to offer further concessions that could harm domestic industries. The impact assessment study will be used to inform future RCEP negotiations by India.

The article reports that RCEP members have agreed to allow the free movement of skilled services professionals in the agreement, continuing the trend of free trade agreements to encompass many issues not related to trade.

You can sign on to AFTINET’s letter to the Australian trade minister opposing the RCEP here.