About the Discussion
India has decided not to join the Regional Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership (RCEP) citing the unwillingness of its partners to deliver on its key concerns. This comes in the wake of recent criticism that the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) India has concluded in the past have undermined rather than enhanced India's trade prospects, the balance of benefits accruing to its partners than to itself. On the other hand, much of global trade today is governed not by WTO rules but rather through reciprocal arrangements concluded through a series of FTAs and regional trade agreements. Does India risk losing out by keeping out of such arrangements? How credible is the expectation that the Indian industry will become more competitive in a relatively protected domestic market and thus be better able to meet the challenge of an increasingly competitive global market? Finally, what may be the geopolitical consequences of India remaining outside the RCEP?
About the Speakers
Ambassador Seshadri joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1978 and served in several diplomatic posts during his career that included Nairobi, Brussels, Bangkok, Tehran and Washington DC. He was also on deputation to the Ministry of Commerce from 1999 to 2003 when he was the Joint Secretary responsible for WTO matters. He has been involved in key trade negotiations and has, more recently, produced several well-researched studies on India's FTAs. He is the author of a recent CII study on the RCEP.
Ambassador Shyam Saran is a former Foreign Secretary and has been writing and speaking regularly on the intersection of political and economic developments in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
Yamini Aiyar, President of CPR, will set the context in her opening remarks and sum up the deliberations at the conclusion of the event.
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