ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Export Performance of South Asia

South Asia’s trade structure, trade potential, supply capacity, and global market access from 1991 to 2017 are examined through empirical research using trade indexes and gravity econometric estimation. The results broadly reflect a stagnant position of South Asia in the merchandised trade structure. South Asian economies have a comparative advantage in some sectors, which are common for them, and these became their competitive export domain. Depending on their relationship, rivalry may be beneficial. India has the highest export diversification, among other criteria, and must refocus on economic integration. The export potential exists while market access and supply capacity remain intact. As South Asia is a high-consumption economy, domestic issues should be handled tactfully and regional integration must be emphasised.

A Quantitative Assessment of the EU–India Free Trade Agreement

With EU–India clinching a post-Brexit trade negotiation, the present paper proposes to examine whether the free trade agreement between the two regions would increase production efficiency and thereby social welfare. Using the partial equilibrium model, the study reveals that the EU–India FTA yields less positive trade and welfare gains in India after Brexit specifically, for consumer, industrial, and capital goods, whereas it would still be in India’s interest towards the specific benign impact of an FTA in raw materials, intermediate goods, and agricultural goods. From the policy perspective, India is not well-served by its pursuit of protectionist agenda and instead should push for trade liberalisation as a better path for the global trading system.

Trade Measures Enacted by Countries Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article tries to analyse the non-tariff measures enacted by countries during the COVID-19 pandemic from the lens of trade protectionism. It further suggests ways for reforming the World Trade Organization rules and highlights the importance of eliminating trade barriers for effectively combating the pandemic.

Sustaining the Blue Economy

Subsidies provided for commercial fishing activities directly contribute to overfishing and decline in fish stocks, threatening to affect the food security and livelihood of millions in coastal areas. Hence, in an unprecedented move to conserve and sustain marine resources, the World Trade Organization membership is currently engaged in negotiating disciplines for fishing subsidies that lead to overcapacity and overfishing, fishing of overfished stocks, and eliminating subsidies that contribute to illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. This article analyses the most recent text tabled at the WTO on the disciplines related to fisheries subsidies and highlights certain outstanding issues where members are unable to reach an agreement.

Quantification of Services Trade Restrictions

In contrast to the extensive literature on the assessment of goods trade and trade barriers, limited attention has been paid to quantify the regulatory restrictiveness of services trade across the globe. This study attempts to build on the services trade restrictiveness index of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by proposing an alternative that makes the OECD data more amenable to policy purposes.

Burgeoning Edible Oil Imports and Price Shock(s)

The ever-increasing import bill of edible oil has become a chronic problem for India with edible oil being the third largest among imported goods in India, next only to crude oil and gold. There are structural issues in production, productivity, and trade of edible oils. These energy-rich crops are grown in energy-starved conditions where more than 70% of the area under cultivation is rain-fed and often cultivated with low-quality seeds in a fragmented landholding and outdated agri-management practices. It further studies the trade liberalisation measures of a liberal trade policy regime, lower import duties, duty-exemptions under free trade agreements, and changes that India has witnessed in consumption as well as retail of edible oil.

COVID-19 and IPR Waiver

The Government of India is seeking an intellectual property rights waiver under Sections 1 (copyright and related rights), 4 (industrial designs), 5 (patents), and 7 (protection of undisclosed information) of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Seeking an IPR waiver is based on the presumption that it will allow more firms to manufacture vaccines and medicines, thereby enhancing their availability at a cheaper price. However, IPR waivers for COVID-19 vaccines and medicines are unlikely to make any difference. A more effective approach is to use compulsory licences, and reduce tariffs and non-tariff measures.

India and the RCEP

COVID-19 has widely affected global supply and value chains, and specific sectors around the world. In this scenario, the options for India to optimise its regional and global value chain linkages with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are examined, which in turn could aid in its post-pandemic recovery.

Restricting Third Country Imports

The Government of India has rolled out new rules to restrict third country imports routed through free trade agreement partners for availing preferential tariff benefits. However, the regulatory and compliance-related burdens of the new rules will burden both import-dependent and value chain led export-oriented sectors, and make them uncompetitive in global markets.

Time for a Massive Fiscal Stimulus

Only bold interventions by the government can ensure a quick recovery of the economy.

Doing Business Rankings: Reforms Must Focus on On-Ground Realities for Trade Facilitation

The latest Doing Business (DB) 2020 report places India 63rd among 190 countries, 14 places ahead of its position the previous year. While reforms in the areas of enterprise promotion and reducing red tape are always necessary, reform measures exclusively to attain a higher rank might jeopardise the priorities of that sector. The real success of a higher rank in DB could be in the form of hard infrastructure and last-mile connectivity rather than reducing a few certifications and office visits, making DB reforms go beyond just serving a higher rank.

The Future of Globalisation

An analysis of globalisation in a historical perspective can help us understand how the past or the present may shape the future. In so doing, this article outlines the contours of the present era of globalisation since its inception, circa 1975, to find that the successive epochs of globalisation during the second millennium came to an abrupt end because of their own consequences embedded in the process. Given this, the article seeks to focus on the present conjuncture, at the intersection of economics and politics, when globalisation is again in crisis to reflect on its future.

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