3 min read.Updated: 12 Mar 2016, 01:42 AM ISTLivemint
New Delhi must deal with an increasing global focus on regionalism
The Economic Survey 2015-16’s analysis of the impact of India’s free trade agreements (FTAs) on the economy is a valuable attempt to address a gap in the policymaking ecosystem. Its conclusion—a conditional one, for it acknowledges the need for more analysis—is unsurprising. Controlling for potential non-FTA trade growth, India’s FTAs have on the whole had significant impact, boosting trade without introducing inefficiency due to trade diversion. So far, so good. But this raises interesting questions about New Delhi’s long-standing preference for multilateral trade liberalization and the global shift to the contrary.