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Is It Finally Time for India's Free Trade Agreements? The ASEAN “Present” and the RCEP “Future”

  • Debashis CHAKRABORTY (a1), Julien CHAISSE (a2) and Xu QIAN (a3)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

Since the inception of the WTO in 1995, India enthusiastically explored export-promotion strategies through multilateral trade reforms. However, the country has moved towards the regional trade route since 2004, primarily owing to the slow progress of the Doha Round negotiations. As a result, the whole architecture of international trade law and governance is being redesigned in the Asia Pacific region. This paper focuses on the pivotal role played by India in this rebalancing. Given the stress on services exports and investment requirements, India focused on entering into comprehensive agreements encompassing merchandise and services trade as well as investment provisions. Presently, India is involved in the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP] negotiations, where ASEAN remains at the core. The current analysis evaluates the Indo-ASEAN trade patterns and evolving dynamics over the last decade through select trade indices, and comments on the future of the RCEP.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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*

Professor of International Economics, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

**

Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

***

Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Footnotes

References

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1 URATA, Shujiro, “Mega-FTAs and the WTO: Competing or Complementary” (2016) 30 International Economic Journal 231.

2 Art. XXIV of the General Agreement on Trade in Goods, online: WTO <https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/gatt47_02_e.htm#articleXXIV>; art. XXIV: 4 sets out the general principle that underlies the formulation of RTAs to facilitate trade progress between the Contracting Parties on the one side, and to avoid creating barriers within such territories.

3 Enabling Clause Regulating the Regional or Global Arrangements for Trade in Goods Between Developing Country Members, online: WTO <https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/enabling1979_e.htm>.

4 Art. V of the General Agreement on Trade in Service, online: WTO <https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/26-gats_01_e.htm#articleV>. See CHAISSE, Julien and MATSUSHITA, Mitsuo, “Maintaining the WTO's Supremacy in the International Trade Order: A Proposal to Refine and Revise the Role of the Trade Policy Review Mechanism” (2013) 16 Journal of International Economic Law 9.

5 Regional Trade Agreements and the WTO, online: WTO <https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/region_e/scope_rta_e.htm>.

6 Urata, supra note 1 at 239.

7 I bid.; In recent years, there has been a strong preference for bilateral agreements with significant geographical overlap; see generally FIORENTINO, Roberto V., CRAWFORD, Jo-Ann, and TOQUEBOEUF, Christelle, “The Landscape of Regional Trade Agreements and WTO Surveillance” in BALDWIN, Richard and LOW, Patrick, eds., Multilateralizing Regionalism: Challenges for the Global Trading System (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 28.

8 BALDWIN, Richard and LOW, Patrick, “Introduction” in BALDWIN, Richard and LOW, Patrick, eds., Multilateralizing Regionalism: Challenges for the Global Trading System (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2009), 1.

9 LOPEZ-GONZALEZ, Javier and KOWALSKI, Przemyslaw, “Global Value Chain Participation in Southeast Asia: Trade and Related Policy Implications” in ING, Lili Yan and KIMURA, Fukunari, eds., Production Networks in Southeast Asia (Abingdon: Routledge, 2017), 13.

10 Pasha L. HSIEH, “Trade Strategies of the TPP-11 Countries: Asian Regionalism in Turbulent Times”, Research Collection SMU School of Law, Working Paper, 8 November 2017.

11 The remaining 11 TPP Members renamed the TPP the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership [CPTPP], kept its contents largely intact, and signed it in March 2018. The CPTPP took effect on 30 December 2018, online: <http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/03/04/the-new-trans-pacific-partnership-hunkers-down-against-trump/>; Hiro LEE and Ken ITAKURA, “U.S. Withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Effects of Alternative Trade Integration Scenarios in the Asia-Pacific” University of Washington (March 2017), online: University of Washington <https://faculty.washington.edu/karyiu/confer/sea17/papers/Lee_Hiro.pdf>.

12 Sanchita Basu DAS and Reema B. JAGTIANI, “The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: New Paradigm or Old Wine in a New Bottle?”, ISEAS Economics Working Paper No. 2014-3, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014.

13 WILSON, Jeffrey D., “Mega-regional Trade Deals in the Asia-Pacific: Choosing Between the TPP and RCEP?” (2015) 45 Journal of Contemporary Asia 345. See also CHAISSE, Julien, “Deconstructing the WTO Conformity Obligation: A Theory of Compliance as a Process” (2015) 38 Fordham Journal of International Law 57.

14 KIM, Young-Chan, “RCEP vs. TPP: The Pursuit of Eastern Dominance” in KIM, Young-Chan, ed., Chinese Global Production Networks in ASEAN: Understanding China (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016), 19.

15 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership”, online: ASEAN <https://www.asean.org/wp-content/uploads/images/2012/documents/Guiding%20Principles%20and%20Objectives%20for%20Negotiating%20the%20Regional%20Comprehensive%20Economic%20Partnership.pdf>.

16 Meeryung, LA, “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): Progress and Challenges” (2017) 7 World Economy Brief 1.

17 The founding documents, approved 20 November 2012, are the “Joint Declaration by Leaders on the Launch of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” and the “Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership”. Quotations are from the preamble to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, “Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership”, online: DFAT <https://dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/negotiations/rcep/Pages/regional-comprehensive-economic-partnership.aspx>.

18 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “Joint Media Statement-The Fifth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting”, Tokyo, 2018, online: ASEAN <https://asean.org/storage/2018/07/5ISSL-MM-Joint-Media-Statement-FINAL-1July2018.pdf>.

19 Government of India, Press Information Bureau, “3rd RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting” (23 May 2017).

20 “RCEP Pact: 700 Officials from 16 Nations to Meet in Hyderabad” The Economic Times (28 June 2017).

21 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)”, online: ASEAN <https://asean.org/storage/2017/11/RCEP-Summit_Leaders-Joint-Statement-FINAL1.pdf>.

22 “RCEP Negotiations Conclude on a Secret Note” The New Indian Express (29 July 2017).

23 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)” (2017), online: ASEAN <http://asean.org/storage/2017/11/RCEP-Summit_Leaders-Joint-Statement-FINAL1.pdf>.

24 Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, “Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations”, online: METI <http://www.meti.go.jp/press/2018/11/20181114006/20181114006-1.pdf>.

25 Naoyuki YOSHINO and Ganeshan WIGNARAJA, “SMEs Internationalization and Finance in Asia”, presented at “Frontier and Developing Asia: Supporting Rapid and Inclusive Growth”, IMF-JICA Conference, Tokyo, 18 February 2015.

26 Peter PETRI and Michael PLUMMER, “The Case for RCEP as Asia's Next Trade Agreement”, East Asia Forum (6 November 2018), online: East Asia Forum <http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/11/06/rcep-evidence-of-asian-leadership-on-trade/>.

27 See generally CHAISSE, Julien and POMFRET, Richard, “The RCEP and the Changing Landscape of World Trade” (2018) 12 Law and Development Review 159.

28 Dezan SHIRA and Associates, “RCEP Negotiations Reach Critical Stage-Likely to be Inked by Year-End”, ASEAN Briefing (2018), online: ASEAN Briefing <https://www.aseanbriefing.com/news/2018/09/07/rcep-negotiations-reach-critical-stage-likely-inked-year-end.html>.

29 Sanchita Basu DAS, “Challenges in Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” ISEAS Perspective (2013), online: ISEAS Perspective <https://www.iseas.edu.sg/images/pdf/ISEAS_Perspective_2013_47.pdf>.

30 Dato’ Dr Mahani Zainal ABIDIN, “RCEP: Can It Create the World's Largest FTA?” The Edge Malaysia (11 March 2013).

31 “Trade Calculations: India Offers to Parley on RCEP Tariff Terms” The Economic Times (24 May 2017).

32 Smitha FRANCIS, “RCEP: Is It in India's Interests?” Business Today (1 August 2017).

33 PURI, Hardeep Singh, India's Trade Policy Dilemma and the Role of Domestic Reform (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2017).

34 Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “Inputs on Initial Offer of Goods under Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)”, online: MCI <commerce.gov.in/writereaddata/uploadedfile/MOC_635975229496960521_Inputs_trade_goods_under_Regional_Comprehensive_Economic_Partnership.pdf>.

35 Sean HIGGINS, “US-Mexico-Canada Deal Targets China with ‘Poison Pill’ Provision” Washington Examiner (7 October 2018), online: Washington Examiner <https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/economy/us-mexico-canada-deal-targets-china-with-poison-pill-provision>.

36 Ibid. See also CHAISSE, Julien and MATSUSHITA, Mitsuo, “China's ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative: Mapping the World Trade Normative and Strategic Implications” (2018) 52 Journal of World Trade 163.

37 Higgins, supra note 35.

38 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis and SENGUPTA, Dipankar, “Learning Through Trading? India's Decade Long Experience at WTO” (2005) 12 South Asian Survey 223.

39 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis, “The Economic Aspects of India's Foreign Policy” in MATTOO, Amitabh and JACOB, Happymon, eds., India and the Contemporary International System: Theory, Policy and Structure, Australia India Institute Foreign Policy Series III (New Delhi: Australia India Institute, Regional Centre for Strategic Studies and Manohar Publishers, 2014), 157.

40 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis and SENGUPTA, Dipankar, “Integration Experience and Trade Performance of the Indo-ASEAN FTA: A Review of Issues” in GUGLER, Philippe and CHAISSE, Julien, eds., Competitiveness of the ASEAN Countries: Corporate and Regulatory Drivers (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar 2010), 207.

41 Rahul SEN, Mukul G. ASHER, and Ramkishen S. RAJAN, “ASEAN-India Economic Relations: Current Status and Future Prospects” 39 Economic and Political Weekly 3297.

42 Mohammed SAQIB and Nisha TANEJA, “Non-tariff Barriers and India's Exports: The Case of ASEAN and Sri Lanka”, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Working Paper No. 165, July 2005.

43 Nagesh KUMAR, “Towards a Broader Asian Community: Agenda for the East Asia Summit”, Research and Information Systems for the Non-Aligned and Developing Countries, Discussion Paper No. 100, 2005.

44 Suparna KARMAKAR, “India-ASEAN Cooperation in Services-An Overview”, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Working Paper No. 176, November 2005.

45 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis and KEDIA, Mansi, “An Analysis of India's Recent Engagements in Comprehensive and other Trade Agreements in East and Southeast Asia” (2014) 25 Taiwanese Journal of WTO Studies 24. .

46 “Slow Progress in ASEAN Talks on Services, Investments” The Hindu (11 July 2010).

47 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis, “The Upcoming Indo-ASEAN CECA: Of Great Expectations and Areas of Concern” (2014) 50 China Report 259.

48 Preety BHOGAL, “India-ASEAN Economic Relations: Examining Future Possibilities”, Observer Research Foundation, Issue Brief No. 221, New Delhi, 2018.

49 Prashanth PARAMESWARAN, “Modi Unveils India's ‘Act East Policy’ to ASEAN in Myanmar” The Diplomat (2014), online: The Diplomat <https://thediplomat.com/2014/11/modi-unveils-indias-act-east-policy-to-asean-in-myanmar/>; Ashok SAJJANH, “Taking Stock of India's ‘Act East Policy’”, ORF Issue Brief (2016), online: ORF Issue Brief <https://www.orfonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ORF_Issue_Brief_142_A_Sajjanhar.pdf>.

50 Biswajit DHAR, “Are Free Trade Agreements a Dead End for India?” East Asia Forum (2014), online: East Asia Forum <http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2016/10/12/can-india-adapt-to-new-trade-realities/>.

51 ANUKOONWATTAKA, Witada and MIKIC, Mia, eds., India: A New Player in Asian Production Networks? Studies in Trade and Investment 75 (Bangkok: United Nations Publications, 2011).

52 Ram Upendra DAS and Jay Dev DUBEY, “Mechanics of Intra-Industry Trade and FTA: Implications for India in RCEP”, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, Discussion Paper No. 190, March 2014; PALIT, Amitendu, The Trans Pacific Partnership, China and India: Economic and Political Implications (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014); PALIT, Amitendu, “RCEP: An Indian Perspective” in DAS, Sanchita Basu and KAWAI, Masahiro, eds., Trade Regionalism in the Asia-Pacific: Development and Future Challenges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 170.

53 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis, “Picking the Right Alternative: Should India Participate in TPP Instead of RCEP?” in CHAISSE, Julien, GAO, Henry, and LO, Chang-fa, eds., Paradigm Shift in International Economic Law Rule-Making: TPP as a New Model for Trade Agreements? (Singapore: Springer, 2017), 501.

54 The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, “India ASEAN Trade and Investment Relations: Opportunities and Challenges” (2016), online: ASSOCHAM <http://www.assocham.org/upload/docs/ASEAN-STUDY.pdf>.

55 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreements”, online: ASEAN <https://asean.org/?static_post=asean-china-free-trade-area 2>.

56 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement”, online: ASEAN <https://www.asean.org/storage/images/resources/ASEAN%20Publication/2013%20(11.%20Nov)%20-%20AKFTA.pdf>.

57 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Partnership among Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan”, online: ASEAN <https://asean.org/?static_post=asean-japan-free-trade-area-2>.

58 HAYTER, Roger and EDGINGTON, David W., “Flying Geese in Asia: The Impacts of Japanese MNCs as a Source of Industrial Learning” (2004) 95 Tijdschriftvoor Economische en Sociale Geografie 3.

59 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, “Trade Facilitation in Regional Trade Agreements” (New York/Geneva: UNCTAD, 2011).

60 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis and KUMAR, Animesh, “ASEAN and China: New Dimensions in Economic Engagement” (2012) 48 China Report 327.

61 Ibid.; Higgins, supra note 35 at 13.

62 H.A.C. PRASAD, “Reviving and Accelerating India's Exports: Policy Issues and Suggestions”, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, New Delhi, Working Paper No. 1/2017-DEA, January 2017.

63 Lili Yan ING, Santiago Fernandez de CORDOBA, and Olivier CADOT, “Non-Tariff Measures in ASEAN”, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, April 2016.

64 “India Urges Singapore, S. Korea and Japan to Sign MRAs on Degrees” Live MINT (26 August 2016).

65 “Malaysia Says Non-tariff Barriers Hinder Asean-India Trade Ties” The Hindu Business Line (31 August 2014).

66 The World Bank, “ASEAN Services Integration Report”, World Bank, Report No: ACS14299, 2016.

67 Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “India's Request List to Indonesia”, online: MCI <https://commerce.gov.in/writereaddata/trade/Indonesia.pdf>; and Ministry of Commerce and Industry, “India's Request List to Malaysia”, online: MCI <https://commerce.gov.in/writereaddata/trade/Malaysia.pdf >, particularly pertaining to movement of professionals (Mode 4) and horizontal commitments may be referred to as cases in point.

68 “Big Wins for Reforms after Loss in Bihar” The Economic Times (11 November 2015).

69 Press Information Bureau Government of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, “World Bank Doing Business 2017 Report” (2016), online: PIB <http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=151967>.

70 The World Bank, “India Jumps Doing Business Rankings with Sustained Reform Focus” (2017), online: The World Bank <https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2017/10/31/india-jumps-doing-business-rankings-with-sustained-reform-focus>.

71 The World Bank, “International LPI Global Rankings 2018”, online: The World Bank <https://lpi.worldbank.org/international/global>.

72 Shujiro URATA, “Constructing and Multilateralizing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: An Asian Perspective”, Asian Development Bank Institute Working Paper No. 449, December 2013.

73 Ibid.

74 Chakraborty and Sengupta, supra note 38.

75 Urata, supra note 72, at 13.

76 World Trade Organization, “Trade Policy Review: India” (Geneva: WTO, 2015).

77 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “Rules of Origin Criteria of ASEAN's Free Trade Agreements” (4 January 2018), online: ASEAN <https://www.aseanbriefing.com/news/2018/01/04/rules-origin-criteria-aseans-ftas.html >.

78 Asian Development Bank, “Asia Regional Integration Centre (ARIC)-Comparative FTA Toolkit”, online: ADB <https://aric.adb.org/fta-comparative>.

79 Article 21 of ASEAN-Japan FTA: Measures to Safeguard the Balance of Payments: “Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prevent a Party from taking any measure for balance-of-payment purposes. A Party taking such measure shall do so in accordance with the conditions established under Article XII of GATT 1994 and the Understanding on the Balance-of-Payments Provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 in Annex 1A to the WTO Agreement.”

80 Article 9 of ASEAN-Korea FTA Safeguard Measures: 1. “Each Party which is a WTO member retains its rights and obligations under Article XIX of GATT 1994 and the WTO Agreement on Safeguards. Actions taken pursuant to Article XIX of GATT 1994 and the WTO Agreement on Safeguards shall not be subject to the Agreement on Dispute Settlement Mechanism under the Framework Agreement […].”

81 MATSUSHITA, Mitsuo, SCHOENBAUM, Thomas J., MAVROIDIS, Petros C., and HAHN, Michael, The World Trade Organization: Law, Practice, and Policy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015) 409. On safeguard measures, see CHAISSE, Julien, CHAKRABORTY, Debashis, and KUMAR, Animesh, “Mastering a Two-edged Sword: Lessons from the Rules and Litigation on Safeguards in the World Trade Organization” (2014) 13 Richmond Journal of Global Law and Business 563.

82 Art. 12 of AIFTA: “General Exceptions: Each Party retains its rights and obligations under Article XX of GATT 1994, which shall be incorporated, mutatis mutandis, into and form an integral part of this Agreement.”

83 See VENZKE, Ingo, “Making General Exceptions: The Spell of Precedents in Developing Art. XX into Standards for Domestic Regulatory Policy” (2011) 12 German Law Journal 1111; VENZKE, Ingo, How Interpretation Makes International Law: On Semantic Change and Normative Twists (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 150; CHAISSE, Julien, “Exploring the Confines of International Investment and Domestic Health Protections-Is a General Exceptions Clause a Forced Perspective” (2013) 39 American Journal of Law & Medicine 332; BARTELS, Lorand, “The Chapeau of the General Exceptions in the WTO GATT and GATS Agreements: A Reconstruction” (2015) 109 American Journal of International Law 95.

84 Art. 7.3 of ASEAN-China FTA: “Measures to strengthen co-operation shall include, but shall not be limited to: promotion and facilitation of trade in goods and services, and investment, such as: i) standards and conformity assessment; ii) technical barriers to trade/non-tariff measures; and iii) customs co-operation.”

85 Art. 14.3 of AIFTA: “For prompt customs clearance of goods traded among the Parties, each Party, recognising the significant role of customs authorities and the importance of customs procedures in promoting trade facilitation, shall endeavour to: (a) simplify its customs procedures; and (b) harmonise its customs procedures, to the extent possible, with relevant international standards and recommended practices such as those made under the auspices of the World Customs Organization.”

86 VOON, Tania, “United States-Measures Affecting the Production and Sale of Clove Cigarettes” (2012) 106 American Journal of International Law 824.

87 Chapter 5 regulates the Standard, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures in detail.

88 Art. 7 of ASEAN-Korea FTA: “WTO Disciplines Subject to the provisions of this Agreement and any future agreements as may be agreed pursuant to the reviews of this Agreement by the Parties under Article 15, the Parties hereby agree and reaffirm their commitments to abide by the provisions of the WTO disciplines as set out in Annexes 1A and 1C to the WTO Agreement, which include, among others, non-tariff measures, technical barriers to trade (hereinafter referred to as ‘TBT’), sanitary and phytosanitary (hereinafter referred to as ‘SPS’) measures, subsidies and countervailing measures, anti-dumping measures and intellectual property rights.”

89 Chapter 4 of ASEAN-Japan FTA regulates Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures in detail.

90 MARCEAU, Gabrielle and TRACHTMAN, Joel P., “A Map of the World Trade Organization Law of Domestic Regulation of Goods: The Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade” (2014) 48 Journal of World Trade 351.

91 Ibid., at 352.

92 Art. 46 of ASEAN-Japan FTA: “Cooperation: 1. For the purposes of ensuring that standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade in goods among the Parties, the Parties shall, where possible, cooperate in the field of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures … .”

93 Art. 4 of ASEAN-China TFA: “Trade in Services With a view to expediting the expansion of trade in services, the Parties agree to enter into negotiations to progressively liberalise trade in services with substantial sectoral coverage. Such negotiations shall be directed to: … (c) enhanced co-operation in services between the Parties in order to improve efficiency and competitiveness, as well as to diversify the supply and distribution of services of the respective service suppliers of the Parties.”

94 Art. 7.2. of ASEAN-China FTA: “Co-operation shall be extended to other areas, including, but not limited to, banking, finance, tourism, industrial co-operation, transport, telecommunications, intellectual property rights, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), environment, bio-technology, fishery, forestry and forestry products, mining, energy and sub-regional development.”

95 ASEAN-Korea FTA, supra note 88.

96 Siew-Kuan NG, Elizabeth, “Intellectual Property Interoperability in ASEAN and Beyond” in Siew-Kuan NG, Elizabeth and Austin, Graeme W., eds., International Intellectual Property and the ASEAN Way: Pathways to Interoperability (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 3 at 21–2.

97 Art. 7.1. of ASEAN-China FTA: “The Parties agree to strengthen their co-operation in 5 priority sectors as follows: (b) information and communications technology.”

98 “ASEAN FTAs: An overview” Business Times (12 July 2018), online: Business Times <https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/asean-business/asean-ftas-an-overview>.

99 International Trade Centre, “Trade Map Database”, online: ITC <http://www.trademap.org/>.

100 For instance, India has been negotiating the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation Free Trade Area [BIMSTEC FTA], which involves Thailand, since 2014.

101 Asian Development Bank, supra note 78.

102 CHAISSE, Juliene and CHAKRABORTY, Debashis, “Normative Obsolescence of the WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement: Topography of the Global Use and Misuse of Initiations and Measures” (2016) 6 Asian Journal of International Law 233.

103 World Bank, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, IDE-JETRO and World Trade Organization, “Measuring and Analyzing the Impact of GVCs on Economic Development”, 2017.

104 Rahul SEN and Sadhana SRIVASTAVA, “Integrating into Asia's International Production Networks: Challenges and Prospects for India” in Anukoonwattaka and Mikic, eds., supra note 51 at 78.

105 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, “Trade in Value Added (TIVA) database”, online: OECD <http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TIVA_OECD_WTO>.

106 NAG, Biswajit, “Emerging Production Network Between India and ASEAN: An Analysis of Value Added Trade in Select Industries” in CHAKRABORTY, Debashis and MUKHERJEE, Jaydeep, eds., Trade, Investment and Economic Development in Asia: Empirical and Policy Issues (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), 41.

107 CHAKRABORTY, Debashis and CHAKRABORTY, Anushree, “Economic and Political Cooperation between India and East Asia: The Emerging Perspective” (2017) 4 Journal of Economics and Political Economy 144.

108 Mia MIKIC, “Integrating into Asia's International Production Networks: Challenges and Prospects for India” in Anukoonwattaka and Mikic, eds., supra note 51 at 120.

109 Richard M. ROSSOW, “India's FDI Reforms under Modi: Once a Fountain, Now a Drip” US-India Insight (15 August 2017), online: US-India Insight <https://www.csis.org/analysis/india%E2%80%99s-fdi-reforms-under-modi-once-fountain-now-drip>.

110 DHL and IBM, “Artificial Intelligence in Logistics: A Collaborative Report by DHL and IBM on Implications and Use Cases for the Logistics Industry” (2018), online: <https://www.logistics.dhl/content/dam/dhl/global/core/documents/pdf/glo-ai-in-logistics-white-paper.pdf>.

111 Digital India Resources, “Artificial Intelligence & Merging Technologies” (12 February 2018), online: <https://digitalindia.gov.in/writereaddata/files/4.AI_Emerging_Tech_Part_I.pdf>.

112 Sudipta GHOSH and Indranil MITRA, “Artificial Intelligence and Robotics-2017: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for Sustainable Growth” ASSOCHAM India and PWC (March 2017), online: ASSOCHAM India and PWC <https://www.pwc.in/assets/pdfs/publications/2017/artificial-intelligence-and-robotics-2017.pdf>.

113 Fukunari KIMURA, Tomohiro MACHIKITA, and Yasushi UEKI, “Technology Transfer in ASEAN Countries: Some Evidence from Buyer-Provided Training Network Data”, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, ERIA Discussion Paper No. 40, May 2015.

114 Ibid.

115 “National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence”, The National Institution for Transforming India, Discussion Paper, June 2018.

116 DOUGHERTY, Sean M., HERD, Richard, and CHALAUX, Thomas, “What Is Holding Back Productivity Growth in India? Recent Microevidence” (2009) 1 OECD Journal: Economic Studies 1; United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Indian Manufacturing Industry: Technology Status and Prospects (Vienna: UNIDO, 2009).

117 MUKHERJEE, Arpita, PAL, Parthapratim, DEB, Saubhik, RAY, Subhobrota, and GOYAL, Tanu M., Special Economic Zones in India: Status, Issues and Potential (New Delhi: Springer, 2016).

118 Dipanjan Roy CHAUDHURY, “Japan's Investments in India Getting Diverse” The Economic Times (27 May 2017).

119 Pritam BANERJEE, “Development of East Coast Economic Corridor and Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor: Critical Issues of Connectivity and Logistics”, Asian Development Bank, ADB South Asia Working Paper Series No. 50, February 2017.

120 Deepshikha SIKARWAR, “Gold Jewellery Imports from ASEAN to Face 12.5% Countervailing Duty” The Economic Times (17 March 2016).

121 “Anti-dumping Duty Imposed on Import of Telecom Gear from Chinese Firms” Hindustan Times (27 April 2016).

122 Nayanima BASU, “Trade Remains Sore Point Between India, ASEAN” The Hindu Business Line (24 January 2018).

123 Arpita MUKHERJEE and Avantika KAPOOR, “India and Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement: Concerns and Way Forward”, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, ICRIER Working Paper No. 347, October 2017.

124 “Trump Administration Tells Court Decision to Revoke Work Permits to H4 Visa Holders Within 3 Months” The Economic Times (22 September 2018).

125 Vikas DHOOT, “MPs Fret over Trade Deficit with ASEAN” The Hindu (26 August 2017).

126 Fan HE and Panpan YANG, “China's Role in Asia's Free Trade Agreements” (2015) 2 Asia & The Pacific Policy Studies 416.

127 V.S. SESHADRI, “Emerging Dynamics on RCEP”, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, RIS Policy Brief No. 85, October 2018.

128 Transnational Institute, “RCEP: A Secret Deal” (July 2018), online: TNI <https://www.tni.org/files/publication-downloads/foe-rcep-secret-deal-2-web.pdf>.

129 “RCEP Talks to Go Beyond 2018, India Claims Big Gains” The Economic Times (5 September 2018).

* Professor of International Economics, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade.

** Professor of International Law, Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

*** Faculty of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Is It Finally Time for India's Free Trade Agreements? The ASEAN “Present” and the RCEP “Future”

  • Debashis CHAKRABORTY (a1), Julien CHAISSE (a2) and Xu QIAN (a3)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

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