Sunday November 17, 2019
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India Decides Against Joining 16-Nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Mega Trade Agreement

India has worked for the cherished objective of striking balance, in the spirit of give and take

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India, Nation, Regional
He pointed out that India has been proactively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. Pixabay

India on Monday decided against joining the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) mega trade agreement, saying the present form of the deal “does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the RCEP summit here, outlined India’s concerns and said, “It is not possible for India to join the RCEP Agreement”.

He said India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. He pointed out that India has been proactively, constructively and meaningfully engaged in the RCEP negotiations since inception. India has worked for the cherished objective of striking balance, in the spirit of give and take.”

However, in the seven years since the negotiations over RCEP were began, “many things, including the global economic and trade scenarios have changed. We cannot overlook these changes. The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns.”

India, Nation, Regional
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the RCEP summit here, outlined India’s concerns and said, “It is not possible for India to join the RCEP Agreement”. Pixabay

Modi said Indian 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 loin RCEP.”

The other 15 nations in a statement said they have concluded text-based negotiations for all the 20 chapters and all their market access issues. They have been tasked to do the legal scrubbing so that the deal can be signed in 2020.

“India has significant issues, which remain unresolved. All RCEP participating countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues,” the RCEP statement said.

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According to sources, India was not shying away from opening up to global competition across sectors but had made a strong case for an outcome which is favourable to all countries and all sectors.

India has also rejected the suggestion that it is making “last minute demands” at RCEP. India’s position on this issue has been consistent and clear from the very beginning, sources said.

The sources said that India’s decision not to join the China-led deal will greatly help India’s farmers, MSMEs and the dairy sector.

They said that India’s stand is a mixture of pragmatism, the urge to safeguard the interests of the poor and the effort to give an advantage to India’s services sector.

India, Nation, Regional
He said India stands for greater regional integration as well as for freer trade and adherence to a rule-based international order. Pixabay

Some issues on which India made its stance clear included the threat of circumvention of Rules of Origin due to Tariff Differential. India pushed for a fair agreement which addressed the issues of trade deficits and opening of services. India also asked for safeguard mechanisms to prevent against import surges and safeguard the interests of domestic industry.

India also raised the unviability of Most Favoured Nation obligations where India would be forced to give similar benefits to RCEP countries that it gave to others. There was also no credible assurance for India on market access and non-tariff barriers. India also had very valid concerns on keeping 2014 as the base year for tariff reductions.

India played on the front foot, stressing the need to address its concerns over trade deficits and the need for other countries to open their markets to Indian services and investments, the sources added.

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) among the 10-member states of the ASEAN — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam — and its six FTA partners China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

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RCEP member-states account for 3.4 billion people with a total Gross Domestic Product of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP, with the combined GDPs of China and India making up more than half that amount. (IANS)

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Greed For Power May Demolish The Democracy

Politicians compete with each other for power and this greed for power can demolish democracy

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democracy
Greed for power in politics may demolish democracy in India. Pixabay

By SALIL GEWALI

It is too disgusting that Shiv Sena is aiming for something which was nothing but an act of betrayal. Here the principles and ethos of the party are just sacrificed. The “chair” of Chief Minister is what the individual parties in Maharashtra are wanting so badly. And for this only Shiv Sena has severed its ties with its all-time ally BJP which emerged with the largest number of MLAs. Is it not the BJP with which Sena made the alliance before the election? Why so much bitter feelings after the poll result? Many past elections were fought on this mutual understanding. Sena had always taken pride and bragged about its power and clout as because the BJP was behind it. But now very contrary equation and chemistry are on display. NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena are sharing the ideas as opposed to the expectation of the whole electorate.

Democracy
Politics in India might lead to a sinking democracy.

One believes it’s Congress and its High common which Shiv Sena Supremo Late Bal Thackeray always disliked and ruthlessly held them up to ridicule. It was because they hold the opposing ideologies. But now his son Uddhav Thackeray kneeled down and sought the helping hand of those rival camps to walk the party through for the chair of Chief Minister. Going by the flood of comments on the social media, this party has ostensibly fallen from the grace. BJP is not a holy cow either. It is equally good at flexes its muscles for the power.

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While Maharashtra is already under the president rule, the NCP and Congress now exploring all possible means to back Shiv Sena.   Uddhav Thackeray only wants to see his son Aditya Thackeray being the Chief Minister of one of the riches states in the country. The trend is not at all healthy. Here everything is utterly clear that the cherished values of democracy in India are fast eroding. Majority of the states in the country, only the “particularly families” are  always standing up to rule the roost. This is a bigger threat to the fundamental values of the country.The NATION is no more controlled by the government of the people, nor is it for the people. It is the government of the particular families which is formed for the fulfillment of the low greed and narrow aspiration of those particular families. Lastly, it is the common people who are always at the receiving end of the leaders’ whims and tantrums. Phew, the country is not at all in the safe hands.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali