The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans–Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) or the Trans–Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
It began with the P4 trade agreement between four nations – Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore – that came into effect in 2006.
As the USA under Trump administration, following the policies on populist nationalism, has withdrawn from TPP. The other 11 TPP countries (TPP–USA) agreed in May 2017 to revive the deal without US participation.
Opportunities for India:
–> Intellectual Property Right (IPR) issues: USA had proposed strict IPR measures under TPP which was against India’s interest. Now withdrawal of USA may have relaxed the IPR norms.
–> Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): Most of TPP members are huge investor in USA. Due to protectionism by USA, there funds can be channelized to other emerging markets like India.
–> Trade: CPTPP can help India to deal with its imbalanced trade by negotiating for goods & services with CPTPP.
–> Platform for regional economic integration: India will get platform for regional economic integration and designed to include additional economies across the Asia–Pacific region.
–> Enhancing Security & Curbing global terrorism: Most of the TPP countries are affected by terrorism – thus provide support for India in its aim of curbing global terrorism.
–> Idea of complementary capabilities has been the hallmark of modern trade – India being more competitive in Services, IT, Pharma & Auto sector should utilise it to gain concessions.
Negatives for India:
(1) Relevance of WTO: The proliferation of these trade agreements may dilute importance of WTO framework where India benefits due to its consensus based approach.
(2) Exclusion of India: The treaty excludes India from a major market in Trans–Pacific. This can affect the Indian manufacturing industry.
(3) Yarn Forward Effect of TPP: TPP will adversely impact the textiles industries of India because of the yarn forward (Rules of origin) provision of TPP.
Mr. Trump’s agenda to pull USA out of multilateral agreements has coincided with the rise of China as the leading world power promoting globalisation.
Now the ASEAN+6 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP), on which China is pushing for an agreement, could benefit from complementarity with the CPTPP.
India, which is also negotiating the RCEP, must utilize this opportunity to win concessions on services trade liberalisation as part of the plan.