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India must join RCEP: Arvind Panagariya

“India should continue to engage with Asia Pacific partners and get into RCEP as it prepares to take over the multinational companies from China in areas of textiles, footwear and other labour intensive sectors,” Arvind Pangariya, professor of economics at Columbia University and former vice chairman of NITI Aayog, said.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 03, 2020, 07.45 AM IST
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Pangariya and Sachs were addressing the CII Annual General Meeting on Tuesday on a more sustainable global economy post Covid-19.
NEW DELHI: Niti Aayog’s former vice chairman Arvind Panagariya on Tuesday urged India to slash its import tariffs to 7% and join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a 15-member trade grouping, laying down a roadmap for the country to better position itself to attract investments.

The economics professor at Columbia University said India should open up more, knock down tariffs introduced in the last three years to 7% on all items, forge agreements with RCEP, the EU and probably the US, while setting up Shenzhen-style coastal employment zones to boost manufacturing and creating jobs.

“India should continue to engage with Asia Pacific partners and get into RCEP as it prepares to take over the multinational companies from China in the areas of textiles, footwear and other labour-intensive sectors,” Panagariya said.

Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for self-reliance, Panagariya said what he really meant was that we ought to earn our own income.

"If really PM meant from self-reliance, self-sufficiency, we would quickly see a huge movement back to autarchy," he said. "I hope it doesn't happen...it will be a huge mistake."

Economist Jeffery Sachs termed India's refusal to join the RCEP a “big mistake”.
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