India can gain over $500 bn yearly joining TPP: Economic Survey

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) India could experience export gains of more than $500 billion per year, or 60 percent increase, from joining an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or participating in a comprehensive Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the country’s national income would expand by 4 percent, or $200 billion, said the Economic Survey 2015-16.

The Survey, presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in parliament on Friday, cited experts to say that India is most competitive in services trade and reduction of trade barriers in services among TPP members will result in growth in India’s services exports.

“The possible risks of not joining the TPP are difficult to quantify, but some of the research has highlighted the possibility of trade diversion and raised concerns about erosion of India’s share in exports to the US and Europe,” it said.

The TPP is a US-led trade agreement involving twelve Pacific Rim countries and concerning a variety of matters of trade and economic policy, on which consensus was reached in October last year after seven years of negotiations.

“The TPP is expected to make around 11,000 tariff lines duty free for its members, which may result in loss of competitiveness of Indian exports in these markets,” it added.

Noting TPP economies on average are more open than the Indian economy, the survey said the service trade restriction index of the World Bank indicates that the TPP economies are less stringent about entry of services than India.

Last month, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sought to reassure Indian industry that there would be no adverse impact of entering into the TPP agreement.

“There is nothing to worry about the adverse impact of TPP on India. We have taken necessary steps to boost India’s trade and investment in the wake of emerging new trade architecture,” she said in her address at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s annual partnership summit here.

Sitharaman also said the real implementation of TPP has a long way to go as till date, not a single TPP member has got it passed through their parliament.

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