HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Indo-Asean nod to trade pacts

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 22, 2012
First Published: 00:36 IST(22/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:40 IST(22/12/2012)

India is hopeful that the free trade agreements in investment and services will help  realise the ambitious $200 billion trade target by 2022 between India and 10-member grouping of south east Asian (Asean) countries.


The negotiations for these free trade pacts were concluded, coinciding with the India-Asean commemorative summit here on Thursday and Friday.

Now, some formalities such as cabinet nods and parliamentary approvals by various countries need to be completed before inking the pacts. 

Asean-India Free Trade Area (FTA) has a combined market of almost 1.8 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.8 trillion.

"In the context of economic globalisation and regional integration, we are committed to our efforts in advancing economic cooperation and engaging the emerging regional economic architecture, including organising multi-sectoral strategic economic dialogues," the vision statement adopted at the summit said.

With expanding economic interactions, Asean countries too have emerged as major destinations for Indian companies in sectors such as energy, farm products, machinery, electronics and information technology.

Addressing the plenary of the summit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the conclusion of negotiations for the FTA in services and investments represents a "valuable milestone" in India-Asean.

"These pacts will facilitate economic integration between Asean and India, and contribute to the overall East Asian economic integration," the vision statement said.

"I'm optimistic that our trade will exceed $100 billion by 2015 and we should aim for the milestone of $200 billion in 10 years from now," Singh said.

Singh had said India and Asean should build on initiatives like the annual India-Asean business fair and conclave.

The Prime Minister also said linkages between small and medium enterprises, which are central to our economies, should be promoted.

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