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“India should not waste time now. It must act quickly before other countries seal the deals,” S.K. Saraf, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), told Indianarrative.com. “We need to revive discussions on the impasse in free trade agreements and other trade pacts in order to take advantage of the changing geopolitical order. The current anti-China atmosphere in Europe could help India at this point, and we can`t miss a chance.¬†Talks began in 2010 with New Zealand and with Australia in 2011, but they were frozen in 2013, when India began negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnershipship (RCEP) megaregional agreement with the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. In November 2019, India withdrew from the RCEP negotiations due to concerns about trade deficits, including with China, and countries` reluctance to open markets to Indian services and investment. RCEP has sparked much controversy and resistance at home, including from farmers, unions, dairy cooperatives and patient groups concerned about the impact on medicines. This story was published from a Wire Agency feed with no text changes. Only the title has been changed. India`s exit from RCEP prompted the country to renew its interest in bilateral talks. Free trade agreements in Australia and New Zealand are being revived. India is looking for ways to restart negotiations with the EU and speed up negotiations with EFTA.

A free trade agreement between India and the US was also on the table, which angered farmers and unions at home because it would hurt local agriculture. There are, of course, two problems with this reasoning. First, as the government itself has pointed out, Indian exporters are simply not as aware of the benefits of free trade as they should be. (Last year, the government set up an “FTA use mission” to correct this situation.) A comprehensive analysis of trade between India and its main FTA partners, mentioned above, shows a significant increase in trade since the agreements went into operation. SAFTA came into force on 01 January 2006 and, according to data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, bilateral trade between India and other SAFTA member countries increased from $6.8 billion in 2005-06 to $28.5 billion in 2018-19. . .

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