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TOG NEWS

INDIA - ASEAN to review Free Trade Pact
By TOG News Service
Sep 11, 2019

TOG NEWS SERVICE, NEW DELHI, SEPT 11, 2019: ECONOMIC Ministers from ten ASEAN Member States and the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of India met yesterday at Bangkok in Thailand for the sixteenth AEM-India Consultations. The Consultations were co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Thailand, Jurin Laksanawisit and Minister of Railways and Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal.

The Ministers noted that, based on preliminary ASEAN data, two-way merchandise trade between ASEAN and India grew by 9.8 per cent from USD 73.6 billion in 2017 to USD 80.8 billion in 2018. The Ministers were also pleased to note the recovery of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows from India in 2018, amounting to USD 1.7 billion. This placed India as ASEAN's sixth largest trading partner and sixth largest source of FDI among ASEAN Dialogue Partners. According to India's preliminary data, FDI inflows into India from ASEAN in 2018 was USD 16.41 billion, approximately 36.98 per cent of total FDI flow into India.

The Ministers were pleased to note the ratification of the ASEAN-India Trade in Services Agreement by all Parties in 2018. The Ministers also noted the on-going efforts for the ratification of the ASEAN-India Investment Agreement and looked forward to the full ratification by all Parties as soon as possible. The Ministers agreed to initiate the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make the AIFTA more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitative for businesses and to constitute a Joint Committee, as provided in Article 17 of the AITIGA, for this purpose. The Ministers tasked officials to work on the details of the review and submit an update at the 17th AEM-India Consultations.

The Ministers commended the outcomes of the 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit held on 21-23 February 2019 in New Delhi, India. The Ministers noted that the event provided an ideal platform for investors, business leaders, industry captains and policy makers to enhance their engagements in further facilitating mutual trade and investment. In this regard, the ASEAN Economic Ministers encouraged for the promotion of this event to business communities in ASEAN as an effective platform for discussions, exchange of ideas, and buyer-seller matching.

The Ministers welcomed the recommendations of the ASEAN-India Business Council to further promote the potential of bilateral trade through the utilisation of ASEAN-India FTA  as well as cooperation in some areas of mutual interest such as financial technology (FinTech), connectivity, start-ups, and innovation, empowerment of youth and women, and MSMEs development. The Ministers also expressed their support for the Fourth ASEAN-India Business Summit and Business Excellence Award, which would be held in Manila in October 2019.