Piyush Goyal pushes for renegotiation of ASEAN FTA

Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal called for renegotiation of India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to prevent misuse by “third parties” and remove restrictions trade as well as non-tariff barriers which he said have disproportionately affected Indian exports. since the operationalization of the pact in 2010.

“It is unfortunate that in the recent past we have had to face several restrictive barriers on our exports to the ASEAN region, especially in the agriculture and automotive sectors. I believe this has only resulted in reciprocal actions from other countries, including India, and will undermine the long-term desire of our leaders to expand trade between the two sides, ”said Friday Mr. Goyal.

Stressing the need to “renegotiate” the existing FTA, Goyal said the focus should be on new rules to eliminate the misuse of the FTA “often by third parties outside of ASEAN” , alluding to China. The two sides were also expected to tear down non-tariff barriers, which may also lead to greater confidence to reduce tariffs for trade between ASEAN and India, the minister said.

“India is currently experiencing exponential growth in imports from the ASEAN region, while our exports have been hampered by the non-reciprocity of FTA concessions, non-tariff barriers, restrictions on import, quotas and export taxes from ASEAN countries. Such a review will align with contemporary business practices, procedures and regulatory harmonization, ”he said at a session with ASEAN trade and finance ministers hosted by the Confederation. of Indian industry.

India’s bilateral trade with ASEAN can grow from $ 80 billion to $ 200 billion through a collective effort, he said. “For trade to grow, it must be fair, transparent, equitable, reciprocal and inclusive,” Goyal said, urging ASEAN ministers to push for a “rapid scoping exercise” so that the review of the trade pact can begin.

Brunei Darussalam Minister of Finance and Economy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah hoped the trade pact review would strike “a balance between regulation and market access “and would ensure a freer flow of goods and services across borders. He also noted that ASEAN-India trade declined by 14% in 2020 to reach $ 65.6 billion, but India remained a major trading partner of ASEAN, as well as an investor in ASEAN. ‘FDI with new investments of $ 2.1 billion in 2020.

Minister Goyal spoke of rising container and shipping costs due to changing global value chains and said India and ASEAN countries, nine of which are “touching the sea”, may cooperate to become a global trade and logistics hub.

“A very prosperous ASEAN is at the heart of India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific region in terms of stability, security and growth. We believe that our cooperation can improve drastically in many areas such as services, information technology, IoT, industry 4.0, best manufacturing practices, healthcare, start-ups , electronics, aquaculture, ”Mr. Goyal said.

“By joining forces, we can rewrite and create a golden chapter of progress and prosperity for 30% of the world’s population,” he said, referring to India’s 2 billion people and of the ten ASEAN countries. “Let us all resolve to work together to deepen our business and investment relationships in the post-COVID world and strengthen our interpersonal and business-to-business relationships,” he concluded.

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