12 Nov 2019 19:10 IST

What is RCEP and why did India stay out of it?

The agreement is important to India because of the sheer size of the proposed bloc

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the 10-member ASEAN countries and six FTA partners China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India. The agreement is important to India because of the sheer size of the proposed bloc - the 16 RCEP members account for around 45 per cent of the global population, 39 per cent of the global GDP and 30 per cent of the total trade. 

India quit mainly because of the big trade deficit with China. The fear among Indian industries and farmers is that if tariffs are brought down to zero, there would be a huge surge of imports into India, and eventually, industry and the farm sector would suffer. 

India had proposed stricter rules of origin and hoped that safeguard duties would kick in. These were not accepted by the other members and, therefore, India decided to opt out of the agreement. India is, however, still in the game because the other countries have said that they would work on addressing its concerns. If this happens to New Delhi's satisfaction, India could still be part of the RCEP.  Watch the video, in which Amiti Sen, Senior Deputy Editor, BusinessLine, outlines details about the RCEP.

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