India and ASEAN Review Trade Agreement to Boost Regional Cooperation

Senior officials from India and ASEAN met in Malaysia to review the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement, aiming to make it more trade-facilitative and beneficial for businesses. The next round of discussions is scheduled for July 29-31, 2024, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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India and ASEAN Review Trade Agreement to Boost Regional Cooperation

India and ASEAN Review Trade Agreement to Boost Regional Cooperation

Senior officials from India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened in Putrajaya, Malaysia, from May 7-9, 2024, for the 4th Joint Committee meeting to review the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement. The primary objective of the meeting was to make the agreement more trade-facilitative and beneficial for businesses across the region.

Why this matters: The review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement has significant implications for regional economic cooperation and trade facilitation. A more trade-facilitative agreement could lead to increased economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness in the region.

The review process, which started in May 2023, has so far involved four joint committee meetings. The committee finalized its terms of reference and negotiating structure for the review in its first two meetings and initiated negotiations from the third meeting held in New Delhi from February 18-19, 2024.

Eight sub-committees have been constituted to deal with different policy areas of the agreement, with five already initiating discussions. Issues being negotiated include national treatment and market access, rules of origin, standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures, and legal and institutional matters. Four sub-committees met physically alongside the 4th Joint Committee meeting, while the Sub-Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary convened earlier on May 3, 2024.

The meeting was co-chaired by Shri Rajesh Agrawal, Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, India, and Ms. Mastura Ahmad Mustafa, Deputy Secretary General (Trade), Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry, Malaysia. The next round of discussions for the agreement review is scheduled for July 29-31, 2024, in Jakarta, Indonesia, with India and ASEAN aiming to conclude the review by 2025.

ASEAN is one of India's major trade partners, accounting for 11% of India's global trade. Bilateral trade stood at USD 122.67 billion in 2023-24. Exports to ASEAN countries grew by 9.96% from USD 37.47 billion in FY2019 to USD 41.21 billion in FY2024, while imports from the bloc saw a 34.30% rise from USD 59.32 billion to USD 79.67 billion during the same period.

The upgradation of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement is expected to further boost bilateral trade and strengthen economic ties between the two regions. As negotiations progress, the outcome of the review will shape the future of trade facilitation and business opportunities for India and the Southeast Asian nations.

Key Takeaways

  • India and ASEAN reviewed the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement to boost regional trade.
  • The review aims to make the agreement more trade-facilitative and beneficial for businesses.
  • Eight sub-committees are negotiating issues like market access, rules of origin, and standards.
  • The next round of discussions is scheduled for July 29-31, 2024, in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • The review is expected to boost bilateral trade and strengthen economic ties between India and ASEAN.