India today implemented the Free Trade Agreement with two more ASEAN countries -- Vietnam and Myanmar -- by slashing duties on hundreds of products, including seafood, chemicals, apparel and tyres.
The agreement, signed with 10 South-East Asian nations in August 2009, is already functional with three ASEAN members --Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. The notification, putting the Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam and Myanmar into effect from June 1, was issued by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
In turn, these countries would also slash import duties on hundreds of Indian goods. In accordance with the agreement, duties on products such as fruits, nuts and seafood would be reduced by about 70 per cent.
A Commerce Ministry official said that the FTA is also expected to become functional with the remaining five members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) --Bruni, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Philippines. While Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia account for over 90 per cent of the India-Asean USD 44-billion trade, the addition of these two countries is expected to further boost commerce with the Asean bloc.
From April to February 2010, India's exports to Vietnam amounted to USD 1.6 billion while imports touched USD 457 million. For Myanmar, the exports' figure was USD 187 million while imports accounted for 1.1 billion. India had signed the FTA with ASEAN on August 13, 2009. The two sides aim to increase their USD 44-billion trade to USD 50 billion by the end of the year.