India, ASEAN Agree To Review Free Trade Agreement In Goods Sector
Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce in the Government of India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

India, ASEAN Agree To Review Free Trade Agreement In Goods Sector

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India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Tuesday agreed to review their free trade agreement to make it more business-friendly and boost economic ties. India and ASEAN also decided to constitute a joint committee for this purpose, according to a statement.

The decisions were taken during the meeting between economic ministers of ASEAN and India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Bangkok, Thailand. They met for the 16th AEM-India consultations. The India-ASEAN free trade agreement was signed in 2009.

“The ministers agreed to initiate review of the ASEAN-India trade in goods agreement to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitative for businesses,” a joint media statement issued after the meeting said.

The ministers tasked officials to work on details of the India-ASEAN FTA and submit an update at the next ministerial meet.

Both the sides also gained the recommendations of the India-ASEAN business council to further promote the potential of bilateral trade through the utilisation of the free trade pact as well as cooperation in some areas like financial technology, connectivity, startups and innovation.

The India-ASEAN trade in goods pact came into force in January 2010. Under the pact, two trading partners set timelines for eliminating duties on the maximum number of goods traded between the two regions.

The 10 ASEAN members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam.

India-ASEAN trade increased to $80.8 billion in 2018 from $73.6 billion in 2017.

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