The RCEP, which to date is the “largest” regional trade agreement, was initially negotiated between 16 countries – ASEAN members and countries with which they have free trade agreements (FTAs), namely Australia, China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and India. India has addressed these issues consistently since the start of the RCEP negotiations. Many of its previous trade agreements have gone wrong and have hurt domestic industry, and New Delhi has an interest in not repeating the same mistakes. The Modi government believes that previous governments have conducted poor negotiations to reach free trade agreements, which is why it intends to review its trade agreements with South Korea and ASEAN. India should now strive to conclude separate trade agreements with some of the bloc`s countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as with countries with which negotiations have not made substantial progress in recent years, such as the European Union. India, as an initial participant in the RCEP, has the option of joining the agreement without having to wait 18 months, as planned for the new members under the terms of the pact. The RCEP signatories indicated that they intended to open negotiations with India as soon as it applied for “written registration” of the pact and that it could attend meetings as an observer prior to its accession. To cope with changing times and new situations, the Modi government must strengthen its weakened competitiveness through internal reforms aimed at strengthening long-term economic power and unleashing rigid markets, while accelerating negotiations on other trade agreements. With a clear majority, the government should not agree on important decisions that would be in India`s economic interest in the medium and long term. Faced with fears, did India have sufficient reasons to reject the agreement? Most of India`s concerns are due to the prospect of imports into the Indian market.
Indian government officials had strongly opposed certain products, such as dairy products and agriculture, from markets such as Japan and Australia that would have harmed domestic producers. India chose to withdraw from the trade agreement signed on Sunday (November 15th) between ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – and its six trading partners, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.