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RCEP has tried to integrate ASEAN countries and the bloc`s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – into a free trade area. Originally touted as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), RCEP took on a new dimension after the United States withdrew from the TPP and then launched a trade war, mainly against China. The agreement will ease restrictions on foreign direct investment. Companies can own up to 65% of a business in another country. [8] Both countries have avoided problems in agriculture, fisheries and mining and are deciding not to reduce tariffs in these areas. This is due to the high sensitivity of these sectors in the countries concerned. [9] In 2008, trade between India and South Korea amounted to $15.6 billion. This is a significant increase from 2002, when total trade was $2.6 billion. [3] The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy estimates that the agreement will increase trade between the two countries by $3.3 billion. [2] India and South Korea now urgently need to find economic stimulus for their economies. Improving reciprocal trade and investment opportunities can meet this need. The 2010 Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) can be the linchpin of this task.

An indocornant trade and economic relationship alone may not be able to eliminate many economic bottlenecks in these economies. However, a bilateral platform can provide India and South Korea with their concerns. The EPA can be the ideal platform for resolving disputes and establishing a sustainable economic and trade partnership in the future. In the current turbulence scenario, this will be the way forward for these two economies. [8] Early harvests are generally precursors to the final free trade agreement; These are mainly confidence-building measures. The agreement for South Korea added to a large list of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements established under Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. [3] With regard to India, the negotiations coincided with the Look East initiative of then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which promised greater regional integration between India and East Asian markets. Following the introduction of the EPA in 2010, India`s growing trade deficit with South Korea remains a concern. The overall deficit has widened to more than $12 billion, the largest portion of which is the trade deficit in goods, as shown in Chart 1. It has remained a problem for an oil economy like India. The balance-of-payments deficit or the gap between exports and imports of goods and services has always been a risk that India is trying to avoid. Therefore, this issue needs to be further explored by a new update of the EPA between South Korea and India.

In November 2019, India finally decided not to join RCEP. Officially, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: « The current form of the RCEP agreement does not fully reflect the spirit and guiding principles of the RCEP. » [11] South Korea is still part of this trade formation, and India`s decision not to join it implies that any future developments in the Indokourian economy must now be revolved around the framework of the EPA.