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India, Asean to intensify efforts to wrap up trade agreement review by 2025

The issue was discussed during the twentieth AEM (Asean Economic Ministers)-India Consultation meeting, held at Semarang, Indonesia

exports, imports, trade

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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India and the 10-nation bloc Asean on Monday said they have directed their officials to intensify their efforts to conclude the review of the existing free trade agreement in goods between the two regions by 2025.
The issue was discussed during the twentieth AEM (Asean Economic Ministers)-India Consultation meeting, held at Semarang, Indonesia.
According to a joint media statement, the meeting welcomed the progress of the review of the Asean-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA).
It also endorsed the term of reference of the AITIGA Joint Committee, the Work Plan of the review negotiations and the negotiating structure.
Both sides agreed to make the agreement more user-friendly, simple and trade facilitative for businesses to increase trade and support sustainable and inclusive growth.
"To this end, the meeting encouraged the officials to intensify their efforts with the aim of achieving a substantial conclusion of the review in 2025," the statement said.
The consultation was co-chaired by Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Additional Secretary in India's Department of Commerce Rajesh Agrawal.
It was a long pending demand of India to undertake the review of this agreement, which came into effect on January 1, 2010.
India has asked for a review of the agreement with an aim to eliminate barriers and misuse of the trade pact.
Recently, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal stated that the India-Asean trade agreement is the 'most ill-conceived' one.
Members of the Asean include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
In general, such review exercise includes implementation issues, rules of origin; verification process and release of consignments; customs procedures; further liberalisation of trade in goods; and sharing and exchange of trade data.
Trade experts said the review demand is there because India's exports to Asean have been affected due to non-reciprocity in FTA concessions, non-tariff barriers, import regulations and quotas.
Concerns have also been raised about routing of goods from third countries in India through Asean members by taking the duty advantages of the agreement. Asean has a much deeper economic engagement with China through the Asean China Trade and Goods Agreement.
During 2010-11, India's exports to ASEAN increased to USD 25.7 billion from USD 18.11 billion in 2009-10. However, imports in 2010-11 rose to USD 30.6 billion from USD 25.8 billion in 2009-10.
Similarly, in 2022-23, India's exports to ASEAN increased to USD 44 billion from USD 42.32 billion in 2021-22. However, imports jumped to USD 87.57 billion in 2022-23 against USD 68 billion in 2021-22.
The trade deficit has widened to USD 43.57 billion in the last fiscal from USD 25.76 billion in 2021-22. It was just USD 5 billion in 2010-11.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 21 2023 | 6:42 PM IST

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