Monday, December 14, 2015

Commentary - Global Trade Negotiations

India generally does not have a good reputation when it comes to negotiating global treaties; whether it is Paris Accord or trade negotiations. Prof. Daniel Drezner correctly puts a finger on this tendency of Indian bureaucrats to go endlessly without much sense of 'proportionality or context'.

Fair enough, India is a polity of more than One Billion people and there are opposition parties always waiting to blame the 'ruling party' as 'sale out to foreigners' in such negotiations. Given the history of European Colonization of India, Indian voters can be easily whipped into frenzy when it is 'white skin' involved - i.e. when Europeans and Americans are other parties in negotiations. (I can sense the triumphant look on Donald Trump's face when USA is still regarded as White European country....)  But still, India's tendency to negotiate such global accords without a business like approach to wrap up quickly is hardly helpful to India or to the rest of world. 

Prof. Drezner correctly points out the danger for USA holding up an empty bag as and when Congress defeats both Asian and European Trade Pacts. With President Obama's popularity sinking fast on his inability to defeat Islamic State; I doubt Republican Congress would pass these trade pacts. Probably Obama Administration is also getting the reckoning that GOP led Congress is going for killing and will simply not hand any legacy defining victories to Obama Administration. The best what Obama Administration can do is to complete all the home work and let the new President sign these trade pacts. Meanwhile, US can perfectly pretend to participate in lumbering global trade negotiations since there is no need to walk away; India and other Developing Countries will do the 'biding'. (With Brazil in complete political turmoil, Brazil will be a perfect partner to India in bogging down these trade negotiations to make 'trade terms perfection as the enemy'.)

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