oppn parties Why India Refused To Join RCEP

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  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
  • India has moved to the 40th spot in the innovation index, up 6 spots from last year
  • DGGI has alleged that top insurance companies, banks and NBFCs has committed a fraud of Rs 800cr by claiming input tax credit without underlying supplies
  • The Centre will borrow Rs 10000cr less than planned earlier due to good revenue collections
  • At $23.9bn, India's current account deficit widened to 2.8% in Q1, the worst in four years
  • Stocks continue to flounder on Thursday: Sensex sheds 188 points to 56409 and Nifty 40 points to 16818
  • The 36th National Games were declared open on Thusrday by PM Modi in front of a record crowd in Motera near Ahmedabad
  • Jasprit Bumrah most likely to miss T20 World Cup due to recurrence of back injury
  • PFI's political wing, the SDPI is on EC radar and action will follow soon if discrepancies are detected
  • Ashok Gehlot to meet Sonia Gandhi today, says all issues will be sorted out soon
  • Referring to the PFI ban, most Muslim organizations ask the government to take similar action against right wings organizations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal, VHP and the like
In a landmark order, Supreme Court rules that all women, married or unmarried, are entitled to safe and legal abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy as per the MTP Act
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Why India Refused To Join RCEP

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

Ignoring suggestions by several experts that a free trade zone and increased trade between Asean nations and Japan, South Korea and Australia will be beneficial for the Indian economy, Prime Minister Modi did not agree for India to be a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which could have been the largest trading block in the world, in Bangkok.

Modi told the gathering that "Our farmers, traders, professionals and industries have stakes in such decisions. Equally important are the workers and consumers, who make India a huge market and the third biggest economy in terms of purchasing power parity. When I measure the RCEP Agreement with respect to the interests of all Indians, I do not get a positive answer. Therefore, neither the Talisman of Gandhiji nor my own conscience permits me to join the RCEP".

India was chiefly concerned about cheap Chinese agricultural, industrial and dairy products flooding the country to the detriment of the Indian industry if a free trade agreement was signed. India has been very watchful and has been forcefully raising the issue of tariffs and access to markets vis-a-vis cheap Chinese goods of dubious quality.

Apart from the fear of Chinese goods flooding the markets, India was also piqued that its concern regarding moving of base year from 2014 to a year closer to the signing of the deal to reflect the latest duty structure was not addressed by the group. Equally important was the issue of transshipment of Chinese goods from other nations, issues of non-tariff barriers and commitments on the services sector. Then, there was no in-built safeguard to prevent import surge.

In the absence of these safeguards and commitments, Indian fears are valid. The Chinese are adept at identifying products that are needed in other countries and they set up huge factories to churn out these products at prices that no one can match, without any regard for quality. Further, given its landmass, China can flood the Indian market with agricultural and dairy products and worsen the farm distress in the country. The government has taken a wise decision by not joining RCEP since concerns raised by India were not addressed. The Agreement in its present form would have been harmful to all sectors in India.