Times of India Editorial & Vocabulary – RCEP’s Possibilities


RCEP’s possibilities: It offers India a chance to put to use learnings from earlier trade agreements

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s itinerary during his current visit to Singapore includes a leaders’ meeting of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed trade deal between 16 countries including India and China. When concluded, it will span a combined population of 3.6 billion generating GDP of about $25 trillion. Enhancing cross-border trade has served the world well and been a positive force in India’s economic development. Nevertheless, recent developments in global trade make the current phase of RCEP negotiations particularly tricky.

Chinese mercantilism followed by the hostility of the Trump administration to past multilateral trade agreements have changed the dynamics. Unfazed by the US pullout from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the remaining members reached an agreement which will take effect next month. China, which is not a part of the reworked TPP, has perhaps not been under as much pressure in recent memory. RCEP thus provides a promising opportunity to get China to adhere to a tighter rules-based trade framework. This is in India’s interest. Based on the experience gained from earlier free trade agreements, India is also in a position to carefully choose tariff lines which can benefit the most from a closer regional integration.

RCEP has triggered anxiety as its member states are the source of most of India’s trade deficit. Among the negotiating parties it’s China which really worries both Indian industry and sections of the government. The anxiety is understandable but RCEP should be seen as an opportunity to rectify earlier mistakes. A successful trade deal offers enough benefits to all partners to risk the costs. By taking a comprehensive look at potential costs and benefits in both goods and services and negotiating skilfully, India can ensure RCEP boosts economic growth as well as enhances competitiveness at home.


Itinerary: a planned route or journey.

Example: In reality, I am safe and sound and I do not intend to change my travel itinerary

Nevertheless: in spite of that

Example: Statements which, although literally true, are nevertheless misleading

Synonyms: nonetheless, even so, however, but, still, yet, though, in spite of that, despite that

Negotiation: discussion aimed at reaching an agreement.

Example: A worldwide ban is currently under negotiation

Synonyms: discussion(s), talks, deliberations, conference, debate, dialogue

Comprehensive: including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.

Example: A comprehensive list of sources

Multilateral: agreed upon or participated in by three or more parties, especially the governments of different countries.

Example: Multilateral negotiations

Perhaps: used to express uncertainty or possibility.

Example: Perhaps I should have been frank with him

Synonyms: maybe, for all one knows, it could be, it may be, it’s possible, possibly

Adhere: stick fast to a surface or substance

Example: Paint won’t adhere well to a greasy surface

Synonyms: stick fast, cohere, cling, bond, attach, be stuck, be fixed, be glued

Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Example: He felt a surge of anxiety

Synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, uneasiness, unease

Ensure: make certain that something shall occur or be the case.

Example: The client must ensure that accurate records be kept

Synonyms: make sure, make certain, see to it, check, confirm, establish, verify

Enhance: intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of.

Example: His refusal does nothing to enhance his reputation

Synonyms: increase,intensify, heighten, magnify, amplify, inflate, strengthen




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