It is also increasingly wise that India`s interest would be to invest heavily in the negotiation of bilateral agreements with the United States and the EU, both of which are being developed. Sujit Dutta, a prominent fellow of the Vivekananda International Foundation and editor of the quarterly magazine National Security, told ThePrint: “Only a few countries will benefit from RCEP membership. China eats in many of the industrial products of other countries, it does not know what it would mean for small countries. Of the 15 RCEP countries, India had previously signed a free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan and South Korea, all of which are under review. “Considering India`s experience in the free trade agreements already signed with the ASEAN Group, South Korea and Japan, we will see that India`s trade deficit with these countries or groups has increased sharply during this period,” says R. Ramakumar, a NABARD professor at Tata`s Institute of Social Sciences, who supports India`s decision to leave rcep and says that this is the case between 2011 and 2019. “India`s trade deficit with ASEAN has grown from about $5 billion to about $22 billion, [now $24 billion, according to August government reports],” he said. Over the past decade, our trade deficit with Japan has grown from $4 billion to about $8 billion, as he points out, and with South Korea, it has grown from about $8 billion to $12 billion. One of the central issues raised in both cases is that the economic strengths and challenges – as well as the level of development – of the countries participating in these agreements are very different. Both agreements were seen as possible avenues for the development of a comprehensive free trade area known as the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area (FTAAP), including the 21 economies that would be part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. India chose to withdraw from the trade agreement signed on Sunday (November 15th) between ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – and its six trading partners, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. India has trade deficits with 11 of the 15 RCEP countries, and some experts believe That India has not been able to use its existing bilateral free trade agreements with several RCEP members to increase its exports.