19th Nov 2020 10:11:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Since last Sunday when the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by 15 countries, there has been no end of discussions on why India declined to join this mega trade pact. From these intensely engaging exchanges of ‘for and against’ views, the regret is clearly observable- India has lost a huge business opportunity in isolating itself from being a part of a trade bloc that compositely represents 30 % of the global economy touching over 2.2 billion people. The figures are mind-boggling enough to induce the feeling that it’s really so. But, this ‘voluntary isolation’ was necessary if the priority is to protect domestic industries from the onslaught of cheap imports. Viewing the decision in the current context, it can be said with stress that it has been an appropriate one. Millions of small manufacturers cutting across industries, agripreneurs and  uncountable others who are engaged in production of goods and articles in the capacities of tiny, small and medium can’t be made the sacrificial lambs just for chasing the idea of ‘getting global’.
RECP is the largest regional trade agreement in the world ever inked and along with 10 Southeast Asian countries, the 5 other signatories are South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. By now, it’s known to all why India walked out of this behemoth in the making. The fundamental issues on which India sought clarification such as protection against import surge, credible assurances on market access, non-tariff barriers and possible violation of ‘rules of origin’ by certain countries through circumvention were not addressed till the end. By ‘certain countries’ it goes without saying that the finger has been raised towards China and rightly so. In this respect it’s not comprehensible why the recent tension with China that originated from the Galwan episode is being singled out as the primary reason for India’s absence from the deal. The influencing factors are surely others and that are related to the realities of trade and commerce. Clearly, China, an economic powerhouse already will be the biggest gainer and the deal inclusive of India will mean further and near-total removal of trade barriers that thankfully exist till date. It’s quite simple to understand even for a high school student. The yardstick of ‘country of origin’  will be bypassed easily by Chinese companies  just by setting  up final assembly plants, say in Vietnam or Thailand, the other signatories and it will be a cakewalk for them to flood the huge Indian market with cheap products. 
If  even without the deal, Chinese products can create huge financial insecurity for the country’s manufacturers, as it’s happening now, is  it difficult to anticipate what could have happened had the pact been inked.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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