Is It Finally Time for India's Free Trade Agreements? The ASEAN "Present" and the RCEP "Future"

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-391
Journal / PublicationAsian Journal of International Law
Issue number2
Online published6 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


Since the inception of the WTO in 1995, India enthusiastically explored export-promotion strategies through multilateral trade reforms. However, the country has moved towards the regional trade route since 2004, primarily owing to the slow progress of the Doha Round negotiations. As a result, the whole architecture of international trade law and governance is being redesigned in the Asia Pacific region. This paper focuses on the pivotal role played by India in this rebalancing. Given the stress on services exports and investment requirements, India focused on entering into comprehensive agreements encompassing merchandise and services trade as well as investment provisions. Presently, India is involved in the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [RCEP] negotiations, where ASEAN remains at the core. The current analysis evaluates the Indo-ASEAN trade patterns and evolving dynamics over the last decade through select trade indices, and comments on the future of the RCEP.