This is with reference to the editorial “Promote Trade” (March 30). The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is indeed a giant trade & economic grouping and if China’s lobbying has helped us participate in the RCEP talks, we owe a big thank you to our neighbour. Union Minister Suresh Prabhu’s deft handling of the recent meeting with his Chinese counterpart, as part of the ongoing dialogue, has obviously helped in changing China’s stance about our place in the RCEP.
As a matter of fact, trade is the only language that China understands. They can’t afford to underutilise their gigantic over capacity for manufacturing almost everything. It is a win-win situation for both countries. This thaw in the relationship should also put the military tensions at the border on the back burner. Let’s face it, we just can’t fight them militarily. Despite all the actions taken by the government — military bases & tie ups in the region — we have to accept their superior strengths — military and economic — and instead find ways and means of cooperating with China. The RCEP dialogue seems to be one such opportunity.
At a macro level, our becoming a full-fledged member of this trade group should help our own Make in India initiative move forward. Competition with Australia & New Zealand in the dairy sector and with Singapore on services should help us tremendously hone and improve our own systems and become more competitive. We can’t expect to export our services to the whole world without subjecting ourselves to competition at the highest level. If we want to be a part of the ‘global free market economy’, we can’t open our own doors just partly.
Krishan Kalra Gurugram
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