Goyal asks Asean nations to strengthen rules of origin to check influx of Chinese goods
Goyal co-chaired the 17th Asean-India Economic (AEM) Ministers’ Consultations held on Saturday via videoconference in a bid to maintain social distancing norms because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.Updated: Aug 30, 2020, 14:08 IST
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for commerce and industry, has asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to strengthen the “rules of origin” provisions, one of India’s key concerns, because the nation’s markets are being flooded by Chinese goods through some Asean countries.
Goyal co-chaired the 17th Asean-India Economic (AEM) Ministers’ Consultations held on Saturday via videoconference in a bid to maintain social distancing norms because of the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
He highlighted that the free trade agreement (FTA) has to be “mutually beneficial” and expressed the need to strengthen the rules of origin provisions, work towards removal of non-tariff barriers and provide better market access, a ministry statement said on Sunday.
Goyal asked for an early review of the Asean-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA), as the trade pact is hurting India’s interest, particularly because of the violation of rules of origin clauses.
India is concerned and wants to review FTAs, as several Chinese goods are dumped in its markets through a third country with which the nation has an agreement, a government official said requesting anonymity.
The review is necessary, as many items enter Indian markets taking advantage of Asean-India FTA. Imports at reduced or zero duty put the domestic industry at a major disadvantage, the official said.
Goyal used the Asean ministerial forum to reiterate India’s consistent position that the review of the FTA has been inordinately delayed. He asked for a closer engagement ahead of the Asean-India Leaders’ Summit scheduled to be held in November and to start the full review before the end of this year, the commerce ministry said in the statement.
Goyal co-chaired the meeting with Tran Tuan Anh, Vietnam’s minister of industry and trade.
A report of the Asean India Business Council (AIBC) was also presented in the meeting.
It also recommended a review of the AITIGA for mutual benefit. The ministers from India and Asean countries instructed the officials to start the discussions to determine the scope of the review at the earliest to make the FTA more user-friendly for businesses.
Sangita Reddy, co-chair of AIBC (India), said the nation and Asean should develop a road map for collaboration in healthcare and pharmaceuticals sectors along with exchange of knowledge and digital connectivity. “She shared that special incentives for Indian pharmaceutical companies should be introduced for setting up plants in dedicated Asean zones,” the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said in a statement.
The industry association is the Indian secretariat of AIBC.
The meeting was attended by the trade ministers of all the 10 Asean countries such as Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take collective actions in mitigating the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and resolved to ensure macroeconomic and financial stability and resilient supply chain connectivity, particularly the unimpeded flow of essential goods and medicines in the region, in compliance with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, the statement said.
AIBC also recommended elimination of non- tariff measures to enable seamless movement of goods and services, FICCI said in the statement.
It proposed the introduction of a business travel card which would facilitate business travel between India and Asean countries with a minimum 90-day validity.