India imposes higher tariffs on trade than any of the other 12 members of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

The tariff for India is 9.4% against a median of 3.1% for the other countries, which came together in an economic partnership announced on Monday. While the outlines of the partnership remain broad, it is seen as a group with the potential to counter China’s influence in the region through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other agreements. It is also seen as an effort to rebuild US influence in the region after its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in 2017.

The other members of the new framework account for 33.3% of India’s exports, an analysis of data from the Ministry of Trade and Industry shows. They account for about 26 percent of its imports. Some contribute more than others (see graphs 1,2).


The objectives of the framework remain vaguely defined. Business Standard reviewed a representative sample of data on certain key topics mentioned in the deal announcement using a variety of data sources (see table).











One of the main areas of interest would be to work together on digital infrastructure. Interestingly, India has one of the lowest internet penetration rates. It was around 49% according to the latest figures available. It is the lowest of the 13 countries. The others have a median penetration of 90%. The highest is South Korea (97%).

Another commitment under the partnership is clean energy. India has resisted the phasing out of coal-fired power plants which account for the majority of the country’s electricity generation. Moves towards clean energy under the partnership will be closely watched, as India’s energy consumption is already the second lowest. India had a per capita energy consumption of 25 gigajoules before the pandemic, compared to a median figure of 145 gigajoules for the rest. Only the Philippines do worse with 19 gigajoules. 2019 figures are used as energy consumption may have been affected by the pandemic.

India also has the lowest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, a broad indicator of the average incomes of people in the country.

It is $6,998 in 2019, compared to a median of over $40,000 for the rest of the group.

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