How to Manage the Economic Fallout of the Coronavirus

By Kavaljit Singh | Briefing Paper # 33 | March 19, 2020

The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) is rapidly spreading around the world. The first case of coronavirus was reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, but now it has spread to every continent except Antarctica. As of 18 March, 211,200 people have been infected, and at least 8,822 have died across six continents.

At the time of writing, there are no signs of coronavirus abating outside China. The virus, recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020, has caused considerable human suffering…

Decoding the US-China Trade Agreement

By Biswajit Dhar | Briefing Paper # 32 | January 21, 2020

On March 22, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the “Presidential Memorandum Targeting China’s Economic Aggression” signalling the beginning of a trade war between the two largest economies. President Trump initiated this action in exercise of the powers granted to his administration under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The Section 301 allows the Trade administration to initiate action against any country, which, in its view, violates intellectual property rights (IPRs) belonging to American firms. But, while President Trump’s action against China was taken ostensibly to…

India Exits RCEP: Analysing Trade Flows under India’s CEPAs

By Biswajit Dhar | Briefing Paper # 31 | December 23, 2019

In November 2019, the Indian government took an unprecedented decision to withdraw from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which was to be the world’s largest economic integration agreement comprising 16 East Asian economies. The decision to withdraw came after almost all major domestic entities in both agriculture and manufacturing argued that the steep reductions in tariffs that were one of the main planks of RCEP would be detrimental to their interests.

This view of the domestic entities, which was eventually accepted by the government, exposed their lack of competitiveness…

India Exits the RCEP: What Happens Next?

By Kavaljit Singh | Briefing Paper # 30 | November 6, 2019

On November 4, India announced its decision to exit the negotiations on the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a mega-regional free trade agreement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed the decision at the third RCEP Summit that took place in Bangkok. The summit was attended by the leaders of all 16 RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs).

The full text of PM Modi’s address at the RCEP Summit is not yet available, but according to a tweet by Prasar Bharati (India’s official broadcaster), Mr. Modi stated: “The present form of the…

India and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership: Key Issues and Implications

By Biswajit Dhar | Briefing Paper # 29 | October 11, 2019

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed mega-regional trade pact being negotiated between ASEAN and their six FTA partner-countries (India, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand) since 2012. It covers a wide range of issues, including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, dispute settlement, and economic and technical cooperation.

This briefing paper begins by summarizing the negotiating mandate of the RCEP and shows how major participating countries have pushed the negotiations towards deeper economic integration, influenced by their simultaneous engagements…