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As world signs mega FTAs, India simply can't afford to turn protectionist

If India misses out on attracting some of the new global trading infrastructure, it could be locked out of several years of growth

When India walked out of RCEP, those bureaucrats and politicians justified the decision by claiming that previous free-trade agreements had “hurt” India
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When India walked out of RCEP, those bureaucrats and politicians justified the decision by claiming that previous free-trade agreements had “hurt” India

Mihir S Sharma | Bloomberg
After almost a decade of “negotiating with blood, sweat and tears,” as Malaysia’s trade minister put it, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed this weekend at the conclusion of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit. Fifteen countries — all of ASEAN, alongside Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and China — will be part of this giant trading bloc. Sixteen countries were due to join, of course, until India withdrew from negotiations.
The Indian government had at least one good reason for staying out of RCEP. New Delhi’s consistent geo-economic goal has been to prevent Asian supply chains from

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First Published: Nov 16 2020 | 8:27 AM IST

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