Business Standard

Struggling India needs more trade; RCEP may just be the right card to play

Modi has long sought to portray himself as both a reformer and a global statesman. A bold decision would not only shore up his reputation , it would point India in the direction of recovery

RCEP, trade
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The Editors | Bloomberg
India, not long ago the world’s fastest-growing major economy, is struggling. Growth has plummeted to 5 per cent — well below potential and not nearly enough to employ the millions of young Indians entering the workforce every year. Lending has slowed to a trickle, as has consumer demand. Voices across the political spectrum say the last thing the country can afford now is to lower its trade defenses. In fact, that’s exactly what’s needed.

India’s immediate question is whether to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which if completed would represent the world’s biggest free-trade agreement. Fifteen other nations — Australia,

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First Published: Oct 30 2019 | 7:52 AM IST

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