While appreciating India's vision for a balance trade agreement with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members, Mr. Rajeev Talwar, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the RCEP trade agreement will boost trade in goods and services, increase investments, strengthen economic and technical cooperation between the member nations.
The trade pact will open new avenues for Indian exporters in the RCEP economies and export potential is anticipated to be realised, said Mr. Talwar. Though imports are significantly higher than the exports to RCEP nations, trade pact with RCEP would provide better market access and benefit our exports, he said. Currently our merchandise export volume is USD 61 billion which is expected to increase to USD 100 billion in very few years after the implementation of RCEP agreement, said Mr. Talwar. Besides, we have tremendous scope to boost our services exports in the RCEP member nations.
India's exports (merchandise) to the RCEP countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam & their free trade agreement partners China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) increased from USD 50 billion in 2010-11 to USD 61 billion in 2017-18.
India's imports (merchandise) from the RCEP countries increased from USD 105 billion in 2010-11 to USD 165 billion in 2017-18. The total trade between India and RCEP countries have also scaled up from USD 155 billion in 2010-11 to USD 226 billion in 2017-18.
There are strong complementarities between India's exporting items and RCEP countries' item of imports. The key importing commodities of RCEP countries includes natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, mineral fuels and oils, electrical machinery and equipment, organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, apparel and clothing accessories, cereals, etc. These all items are also in India's exports basket, said Mr. Talwar.
At services front, India remained the eighth largest exporter of commercial services in the world in 2016 with a share of 3.4%, which is double the share of India's merchandise exports in the world at 1.7%. The ratio of services exports to merchandise exports increased from 35.8% in 2000-01 to 58.2% in 2016-17 representing the rising significance of the services sector in India's exports. Keeping in view the rising role of services sector in the economy, India's bilateral trade in services with RCEP member nations is likely to boost post RCEP trade pact, said Mr. Talwar.
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