The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal has called upon the ASEAN bloc to do away with Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). Addressing the “Special Plenary with the Trade Ministers of the Region: Indo-ASEAN Business”, organised by the CII, Goyal also called for “curbing the misuse of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) by third parties, often outside the ASEAN region.”
He called upon the ASEAN bloc to allow reciprocal FTA concessions to imports from India to correct the skewed trade imbalance in favour of the ASEAN. “India has currently been witnessing exponential growth in imports from the ASEAN region while our exports have been impeded by non-reciprocity in FTA concessions, NTBs, import regulations, quotas and export taxes from ASEAN countries. Such a review will enable alignment with contemporary trade practices, procedures and regulatory harmonisation,” said Goyal.
“Current trade of about US$ 80 billion makes Indo-ASEAN region one the largest trading areas globally. Despite increasing trade we are short of the target of US$ 200 billion, which India and ASEAN were to achieve by 2022,” he added. He reiterated the importance for fair, equitable, transparent, reciprocal and inclusive trade rather than enhancing trade through tariff reductions.
“Let me also underscore that if we were to review the ASEAN-India Trade In Goods Agreement (AITIGA), it may truly promote trade on both sides, support industry and manufacturing on both sides and help us support each other to truly become modern, progressive economies,” he said.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of India-ASEAN partnership. India’s bilateral trade with ASEAN has grown steadily. India’s merchandise exports to ASEAN increased from US$ 23 billion in 2010 to US$ 30 billion in 2020. While India’s imports from ASEAN have surged from US$ 30 billion in 2010 to US$ 44 billion in 2020.