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Fiftieth Foundation Year Lecture Series

Fifth Lecture (03.02.2020): Professor Biswajit Dhar

The Fifth Lecture under the Fiftieth Foundation Year Lecture Series titled “Assessing India’s Free Trade Agreements with East Asian Countries” was delivered by Professor Biswajit Dhar, at the Baker Auditorium, CDS on 3 February, 2020. Professor Dhar is Professor of Economics, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Abstract: Over the past decade and a half, India has emerged as one of the more active countries in forging free trade agreements (FTAs).Traditionally, India has been a firmly stood for multilateralism in the realm of trade, but India’s position changed considerably after it signed a Framework Agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to initiate negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in 2003. Three years later, India and Japan decided to negotiate a bilateral Economic PartnershipAgreement/Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement(EPA/CEPA). Almost simultaneously, negotiations for a CEPA with the Republic of Korea (henceforth Korea) were launched. The two latter agreements were “comprehensive” for their coverage included investment and services issues besides the traditional area of goods. Alongside, Indiaformalised Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements with two ASEAN members, namely Malaysia and Singapore. Although since 2005, India has been negotiating bilateral agreements with several major economies, including the EU, Australia and Canada, the FTAswith the East Asian countries are the only the significant trade agreements that are in place.

A number of issues arise from the analysis of the three main CEPAs, the overarching agreement with ASEAN and the agreements with Japan and Korea. The first issue is the asymmetry in the reduction of tariffs between India and its FTA/CEPA partners in all three agreements. This was on account of the fact that while India’s pre-FTA tariffs were generally much higher than those of its partners, it had agreed to reduce its tariffs on a substantial number of products to levels that were comparable with those of its FTA partners.

The sharp reduction in tariffs agreed by India adversely impacted the country’s trade balances with all its partners. These trends resulted from the fact that while India’s FTA/CEPApartners were well-positioned to take advantage of an open Indian economy, Indian entities have been unable to exploit the market access opportunities offered by the partner countries. For instance, India’s trade imbalance vis-à-vis the ASEAN members increased from just below $8 billion when the India-ASEAN FTA was signed in 2009-10 to nearly $22 billion in2018-19. This was a result of sharply increasing imports and substantially slow growth in exports. Kerala is one of the more important States which has witnessed steep imports of several of its key products, like cashew, pepper and rubber, imports registered steep increases during the implementation of the FTA.
Fourth  Lecture (27.01.2020) : Professor T V Paul

The Fourth  Lecture under the Fiftieth Foundation Year Lecture Series titled “India as a Rising Power: Opportunities and Constraints in the 21st Century” was  delivered by Professor T V Paul  at the Baker Auditorium, CDS on 27 January, 2020. Professor Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations at the  James McGill University, Montreal, Canada and Visiting Professor at CDS.

Abstract: In its 71-year existence as an independent state, India has achieved much in fulfilling the dreams of its leaders in obtaining a higher global status, but the quest is still unfinished in terms of achieving a great power status. Why do the Indian elite and many in the public believe that the country has a destiny to rise as a global power? What are the hard and soft power markers that encourage them to think this way? What are the external and internal constraints in this pursuit and the opportunities that India may have both obtained and missed? Finally, what does the future hold for India’s status elevation? How do we explain/theorize India’s status seeking efforts?


Third Lecture (21.01.2020): Professor Guilhem Fabre

The Third Lecture under the Fiftieth Foundation Year Lecture Series titled “ China’s R&D and Innovation Policies” was  delivered by Professor Guilhem Fabre at the Baker Auditorium, CDS on 21 January, 2020. Professor Guilhem Fabre is Professor at the Department of Chinese Studies at the Universite Paul Valery- Montpellier 3, France. The seminar was chaired by Professor Sudip Chaudhuri, Visiting Professor, CDS.

Second Lecture (16.01.2020): Professor Guilhem Fabre

The second Lecture under the Fiftieth Foundation Year Lecture Series titled “China’s Economic Slowdown” was delivered by Professor Guilhem Fabre at the Baker Auditorium, CDS on 16 January, 2020. Professor Guilhem Fabre is Professor at the Department of Chinese Studies at the Universite Paul Valery- Montpellier 3, France. The seminar was chaired by Professor Sunil Mani, Director, CDS.

Abstract: Following the global crisis, the stimulus package of 2009-10, with its huge expansion of credit, marked the end of “Cheap China” with the under pricing of labour, capital, land, energy and currency, and disproportionally shifted growth in favour of the public sector and real estate, the lion’s share of the State-Party system. The present process of deleveraging must address the unprecedented inequities that stem from the distortions in the allocations of resources and the respective functions of the respective function of the central and local governments.

First Lecture (14.01.2020): Professor Sanjay Reddy

The first Lecture under the Fiftieth Foundation Year Lecture Series titled “Development Economics for Whom? Randomization and Beyond” was delivered by Professor Sanjay Reddy at the Joan Robinson Hall, CDS on 14 January, 2020.

Professor Reddy is Associate Professor of Economics at the New School for Social Research at New York, USA. The lecture was well attended by the faculty, students and invited guests from other institutions in Trivandrum.