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Bilateral Trade Agreements India

By Zach Arnold | December 3, 2020

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Both sides, who wish to take all appropriate measures to develop trade between the two countries, agree to consider in their entirety all proposals to promote trade. During the negotiations leading to the conclusion of the current India-China trade agreement, the two delegations recognized that the problems related to inspections, investigations, navigation, insurance and the movement of businessmen needed to be examined and resolved in a practical manner in order to better achieve the objectives of the agreement and further strengthen trade relations between the two countries. These issues relate to specific issues rather than substantive issues, so both delegations agreed to postpone consideration of these issues to a later date. It is to be hoped that, in these subsequent discussions, our two governments will be able to find constructive solutions that will help promote and stimulate the flow of trade between our two countries. Overall, India`s experience in trade with its major free trade partners, with the exception of SAFTA, has not been very encouraging. While India has significantly increased its exports from its free trade agreement with SAFTA countries, the EPA with Korea and the ECSC with ASEAN have been more beneficial to these economies. However, in the case of the EPA with Japan, bilateral trade declined or stagnated after the first year of implementation, but with Japan, too, the trade deficit increased considerably. In addition to a number of domestic factors that have hampered the competitiveness of Indian exports and prevented India from using preferential market access in these partner countries, a number of FTA-related issues are responsible for a less favourable development of India`s trade relations with ASEAN, Korea and Japan. These issues include erroneous obligations, stricter rules of origin, a lack of awareness of free trade agreements and high compliance costs. It is therefore important that India is not satisfied with the opening of a review of the India-ASEAN free trade agreement, but the existing EPA provisions with Korea and Japan should also be evaluated to make them more trade-friendly and business-friendly. However, it is equally important that India at the same time develop all necessary measures to remove barriers to the overall competitiveness of exports in the country. Read also: Modi, Trump had distanced himself from it. Now the mega-agreements are going to make a comeback on Covid 2.

In the meantime, trade between the two countries will continue on the basis of an agreement between the importers and exporters concerned. It is important that the 2019-20 economic survey indicates that free trade agreements have generally been beneficial for India. Between 1993 and 2018, India`s exports of manufactured goods increased by an average of 13.4% for the partners with whom it entered into trade agreements, and those imports increased by 12.7%, it is claimed. In comparison, total exports of goods increased by 10.9% on average during this period and imports by 8.6%. A comprehensive analysis of trade between India and its key free trade partners, discussed above, shows a significant increase in trade since the agreements came into force. SAFTA came into force on 1 January 2006 and, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, bilateral trade between India and other SAFTA member states increased from $6.8 billion in 2005-06 to $28.5 billion in 2018-19.

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