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Why Free Trade Still Eludes BIMSTEC

NEW DELHI: As the seven member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical & Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ready for the fifth summit in Sri Lanka in August, the major takeaway of a free trade area (FTA) appears elusive. Discussions over the last 15 years have got nowhere, and under the present Indian government, there is an aversion for FTAs that are seen as exacerbating the trade deficit and diminishing local industry. As an Indian diplomat told StratNews Global: "We have the same misgivings about the BIMSTEC FTA that we had about RCEP, that China will use this route to enter Indian markets. China has a liberal trade regime with all BIMSTEC members."...Read More