The agencies are expected to submit the report by January, 2019 and will be considered to decide the course of actions related to the mega trade deal
The commerce ministry has roped in three external institutions--IIM Bangalore, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and Centre for Regional Trade (CRT)—to prepare a detailed report and assess the economic impact of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal.
The agencies are expected to submit the report by January, 2019 and will be considered to decide the course of actions related to the mega trade deal that is expected to conclude next year, a senior government official said.
The changes will be applicable to current and future FTAs, while in case of existing agreements, changes will be made during its review, the official said.
The economic and trade policy think-tanks are expected to talk to the industry, including exporters, importers, manufacturers, among others, for their inputs and feedback.
Barriers to trade, in form of import restriction is eventually removed when a free trade agreement is signed among trading nations to mainly increase exchange of goods and services.
RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement among 16 countries. This includes 10-member 10 member countries from Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) block--Brunei Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam--and their six FTA partners--India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The trade deal aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.
India already has a free trade agreement with ASEAN, Japan and South Korea and it is negotiating similar pacts with Australia and New Zealand.
The government has set up four-member group of ministers (GoM) headed by commerce minister Suresh Prabhu to advise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on RCEP-related negotiations as it faced opposition on the deal from several ministries.
India is pushing for liberalising norms to promote services trade as the sector accounts for about 55 percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is looking for a balance trade agreement as it would cover 40 percent of the global GDP and over 42 percent of world’s population.(The headline of the earlier version of the story inadvertently mentioned IIM-C instead of IIM-B. The error is regretted)