Why India is crucial to RCEP trade pact

While New Delhi is a major stumbling block with its demands, it provides strategic balance

Asean's leaders have issued a stark warning about rising protectionism at their latest summit, promising "to exert all efforts to resolve outstanding issues" delaying the critical Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement.

It is no secret that India is the biggest stumbling block, leading some to worry that India may be left out of the trade pact entirely. This would be a mistake. RCEP negotiators meeting in Singapore this week would be wise to think of new concessions, not just to keep India at the table but to persuade it to sign the deal itself.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'Why India is crucial to RCEP trade pact'. Print Edition | Subscribe