Understanding Indian Trade Policy: Implications for the INDO-SACU Agreement

"The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and India plan to start trade negotiations before the end of 2004. Historical trade agreements (bilateral, regional, or multilateral) have never played an integral role in India's development strategy. And in spite of ongoing reform efforts that began in 1991 trade and liberalisation remain highly controversial, politically sensitive issues. This report begins with India's economic history and the reform process of the 1990s, and the dramatic effects both have had on the way in which Indian trade policymakers and strategists view the world. This lays the necessary foundation for all of the subsequent analysis. We then narrow things down to the specific: what has India strived for in previous bilateral trade negotiations? How extensive has the coverage of those agreements been, and how deep do the concessions and commitments go? And for issues India has not yet negotiated in bilateral settings, what has been its position in the WTO? From the answers to these questions, what can we realistically expect the architecture of an Indo-SACU agreement to be?"