CWR > Volume 9(1); 2023 > Special Issue
Research Article
Published online: March 1, 2023

India’s Trade Policy Dilemma: RCEP and the New FTA Strategy

Surendar Singh
FORE School of Management, New Delhi
Room D309, Adhitam Kendra, B 18, NRPC Colony, Block B, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi 110016, India.
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ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


India’s recalibrated strategy toward free trade agreements (FTAs) has received considerable traction in the international trade policy space. Moreover, this has reignited the debate that India needs to reconsider its decision of not joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). A variety of factors such as domestic political economy, legal provisions of the RCEP agreement remained a matter of India’s concerns and shaping decision not to join the RCEP. The study explores scholarly literature and analyzes key imperatives such as integration in global value chains, consolidation of existing trade agreements and shaping global rulemaking for India to reconsider joining the RCEP agreement in the context of India’s new FTA strategy. The study findings demonstrate that India’s recalibrated strategy toward FTAs has significantly changed in terms of its geographical orientation, shift to bilateral trade deals, and geopolitical orientation. However, India is unlikely to consider joining the RCEP even under its new FTA strategy.

Keywords : RCEP, India, Global Value Chains, FTA, Rules of Origin, Strategy

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