16 March 2016 Current Affairs: Plans to liberalise trade between India and China, the world’s two fastest-growing large economies, have gathered momentum with both sides exchanging offers on removal of a chunk of tariff lines on goods imports. Against India’s offer to remove 42.5% of tariff lines under the 16-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), China has expressed its willingness to abolish equivalent amount of tariff lines for India.Although a final call on the products India would like China to scrap the import duties, trade experts say India may seek duty relief for its textile exports, among others.Cotton fibre and yarn, copper and some organic chemicals are the major items that India has exported to China this fiscal, while its imports from China include electronic items, mechanical appliances, organic chemicals,fertiliser and iron and steel. Earlier, India used to export huge quantities of iron ore to China before curbs were placed on their mining.India’s merchandise exports to China stood at a mere $11.9 billion in 2014-15, while China’s exports to India were to the tune of $60.4 billion. Even if the likely damaging impact of cheaper imports from China on domestic industry such as steel is discounted, the potential customs revenue loss for the country as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP) will be much higher than China’s, also because of the fact that China’s GDP is more than four times of India’s.Successful RCEP negotiations would essentially pave the way for a virtual free trade agreement (FTA) between India and China, as India already has FTAs with other members in the grouping. RCEP comprises 10 Asean nations and six others with which these countries have already forged FTAs. According to an initial assessment made in 2013, RCEP nations included more than 3 billion people, have a combined GDP of about $17 trillion, and makes up for roughly 40% of the global trade.