To protect interest of the domestic industry, India has demanded that the base year for tariff cuts under RCEP FTA should be advanced from 2014 to 2019.
India maintains that in the 5 year period, tariffs were increased on several thousand products and hence 2019 should be the year based on which tariff cuts should be carried out under the RCEP FTA.
Another contentious issue raised by India is regarding an automatic trigger mechanism of import duties in case of spike in foreign shipments from RCEP nations. In the RCEP FTA work programme, India, China, Australia and New Zealand have been asked to resolve the issue.
India has also sought a carve out from a provision that syncs its preferential duty rates to the RCEP group. The intention of this provision is that in the future if any RCEP member lowers duties for a non RCEP nation under a trade pact, similar benefits will also have to be automatically offered to the RCEP FTA countries.
In addition, India has sought stringent rules of origin rules — which mandates minimum value addition that needs to be undertaken in a supply chain, before that product is exported from an RCEP country to India.
Last but not least, the work programme also seeks India to make commitments to the best of its ability on e-commerce — a sector where data localisation norms have become an issue for foreign companies.