India Changes Tack on RCEP Negotiations

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | August 13, 2016

Last week, India abruptly changed tack by expressing its willingness to drop three-tiered approach on tariff liberalization under the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. This was communicated to trading partners at the fourth RCEP Ministerial Meeting held in Laos on August 5. India has been one of the key proponents of the three-tiered approach on tariff reduction under RCEP.

What led India to change tack? The precise reasons behind this policy shift are not yet publicly known but media reports suggest that India has made this offer conditional on getting higher levels of commitments on trade in services and investment from other…

Remodeling India’s Investment Treaty Regime (II)

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | July 20, 2016

As part of ongoing initiatives towards restructuring its bilateral investment treaty regime, the Indian government has recently approached 25 countries – with whom the initial duration of treaty is not yet over – to sign a joint interpretative statement to clarify ambiguities in the existing treaty texts. The objective of this move is to minimize the possibility of arbitral tribunals interpreting the treaty provisions vastly different from what the contracting parties originally had in mind when they signed these treaties.

These 25 countries are Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, China, Colombia, Finland, Iceland, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Saudi…

Remodeling India’s Investment Treaty Regime

By Kavaljit Singh & Burghard Ilge | Commentary | July 18, 2016

On July 6, 2016, the Dutch government announced that it has received an official notification from Indian authorities seeking termination of the bilateral investment protection treaty (BIT) signed between the Netherlands and India in 1995. The Netherlands is not the only country which has received notice of termination. India has recently served similar termination notices to as many as 57 countries (including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden) with whom the initial duration of the treaty has either expired or will expire soon.

For the remaining 25 countries (such as China, Finland and Mexico) with whom the initial duration of the treaty will…

Brexit: What Happens Next?

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | June 24, 2016

Britain has voted to leave the European Union. In a referendum held on Thursday (June 23), close to 52 per cent of Britons favored leaving the EU. The referendum results reveal that the arguments put forward by Brexiters found greater resonance with the sentiments of ordinary people than the ones put forward by pro-European camps, the establishment and world leaders.

Before the polls closed, the UK’s political establishment was expecting that overwhelming voters would vote to stay in the EU. In the same vein, most media analysts and market observers were predicting a win for Remain camp. Even Nigel Farage, leader of far right-wing UK…

Reforming the Direct Tax Reforms in India

By Kavaljit Singh | Commentary | May 6, 2016

On  April 29, 2016, India’s income tax department released tax statistics after a gap of almost 16 years. Till 2000, the tax department used to publish All India Income Tax Statistics but the publication was discontinued for some unknown reasons. No explanations were given by the authorities for the discontinuation of this publication despite numerous demands made for its release by Indian economists and researchers.

According to media reports, the government released this data after French economist Thomas Piketty, author of bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century, highlighted the need for greater data transparency to carry out research on income inequalities in India. During his trip…