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India Gradually Reduced Tariffs On 80% Of Chinese Products?

Oct 12, 2019

According to the Indian Economic Times on the 28th, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is conducting the latest negotiations in Vietnam, and the Indian government is in contact with the main RCEP negotiators to discuss details such as tariff reductions. The report quoted an official as saying that after signing the RCEP, India may gradually reduce tariffs on 80% of Chinese products. "This compromise is less than in other countries." For example, India plans to reduce tariffs on 86% of Australian and New Zealand goods. Reduce tariffs on 90% of ASEAN, Japan, and Korean goods.

The report quoted an unnamed Indian official as saying that the discussion between India and China is “still in progress” and that in the future, 28% of goods from China may be “immediately eliminated”, while the remaining 72% of goods will be in five years. Gradually reduce tariffs in phases over 10, 15 and 20 years. The Economic Times said that this will give India time to strengthen its domestic manufacturing. Last week, the government reduced the corporate tax on new manufacturing companies to 15% to attract investment.

"India should join the RCEP, but there must be a better agreement to safeguard its interests." The Indian Express reported on the 28th that the RCEP negotiations have entered the final stage and are currently speeding up the negotiations and striving for 11 this year. The negotiations were completed before the end of the month. Indian steel, dairy products, and other industries openly opposed India's participation in RCEP, fearing that the industry will be affected. However, the Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Goyal said that India’s refusal to join RCEP will make the “export industry at a disadvantage”, national interests cannot be held by individual industries, and “national interests” must be viewed from a holistic perspective. This is seen as a strong signal that India will sign the RCEP. The article said that even without an FTA, China has a market advantage in many areas. “Therefore, the tariff phase-out needs to be longer than the previous free trade agreement, extending to 15-20 years.”

According to the Economic Times, India has a trade deficit with 11 of the 16 RCEP members, and the trade deficit with China in the 2018-19 fiscal year was as high as 53.6 billion US dollars. According to the report, India has made progress in introducing a “trigger mechanism” in the agreement. For example, if a certain type of commodity suddenly enters the Indian market and constitutes dumping, India has the right to temporarily increase tariff measures on goods from the country.