India must join RCEP: Arvind Panagariya : 03-06-2020

Niti Aayog’s former vice chairman Arvind Panagariya on Tuesday urged India to slash its import tariffs to 7% and join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a 15-member trade grouping, laying down a roadmap for the country to better position itself to attract investments.

The economics professor at Columbia University said India should open up more, knock down tariffs introduced in the last three years to 7% on all items, forge agreements with RCEP, the EU and probably the US, while setting up Shenzhen-style coastal employment zones to boost manufacturing and creating jobs.

“India should continue to engage with Asia Pacific partners and get into RCEP as it prepares to take over the multinational companies from China in the areas of textiles, footwear and other labour-intensive sectors,” Panagariya said.

Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for self-reliance, Panagariya said what he really meant was that we ought to earn our own income.

“If really PM meant from self-reliance, self-sufficiency, we would quickly see a huge movement back to autarchy,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t happen…it will be a huge mistake.”

Economist Jeffery Sachs termed India’s refusal to join the RCEP a “big mistake”.

Source : PTI