India’s entry into the (APEC) grouping will likely be one of the “concrete” topics on the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his talks with US President Barack Obama next week, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya has said.
“One concrete thing I hope would be on the agenda is India entering into Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC),” Panagariya said during a discussion yesterday at the Asia Society Policy Institute when asked what is on India’s economic agenda as Modi visits the White House and as Obama’s presidency is in its final months.
Panagariya had noted during the discussion that trade agreements like with APEC will be a “stepping stone” but APEC by itself “is not going to get you very far” and greater market access requires getting into other agreements. He however added that Prime Minister Modi himself committed to India entry’s into APEC and during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit had sought Tokyo’s support for New Delhi’s entry into the trading bloc.
He said India has been “slower” than other countries in entering free trade agreements, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya said India will need to capture some of the world markets if it has to sustain an eight to 10 per cent growth rate over the next 20-25 years.
“On the Free Trade areas, India has been certainly slower than other countries,” Arvind Panagariya said at the discussion on the two years of the Modi government responding to whether a trade-led growth is a priority for the government.
He said the broader question is whether “outward orientation” is part of the government’s strategy of development, adding that his push is in that direction.
APEC has grown to become a dynamic engine of economic growth and one of the most important regional forums in the Asia-Pacific. Its 21 member economies are home to around 2.8 billion people and represent approximately 57 per cent of world GDP and 49 per cent of world trade in 2014.
As a result of APEC’s work, growth has soared in the region, with real GDP doubling from just USD 16 trillion in 1989 to USD 31 trillion in 2013.