“The task of transforming India is progressing at an unprecedented scale. The policy initiatives like Make in India, Ease of Doing business reforms, implementation of the Goods and Services tax pave the way for major opportunities to invest in India. Easy Foreign Direct Investment norms in the key sectors, simplified industrial licensing, forest clearances will further accelerate the growth in trade and investments.” said Mr C R Chaudhary, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Government of India in his Special Address at the ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo held from 22 – 23 January 2018 at New Delhi.
The Minister further stated that Make in India provides opportunities for the ASEAN countries to enhance trade and investments with India, promote a two fold Government - Government partnership and Business - Business Partnership.
Deeping trade and economic relations with the ASEAN region is an important component of India’s Act East policy. India-ASEAN trade and investment relations have been growing steadily, with ASEAN being India's fourth largest trading partner. The ASEAN-India FTA on Trade in Goods, signed in 2009, and upgraded by including Services and Investment has an extremely deep strategic mandate. However, the true potential has not been realized despite it being almost a decade since its operationalization.
While the FTA has helped leverage and deepen industrial and economic capacities and opportunities for partnership, there has been limited success in terms of enhancing the two-way bilateral trade and investment flow. Once the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) comes into effect, it will further change the dynamics of India’s engagement in the region.
H.E. Ms Nora Kakilala Terrado, Under Secretary (Deputy Minister), Trade and Investment Promotion Group (TIPG), Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines in her Special Address stressed upon the need for moving faster in the areas of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between India and ASEAN, especially in times which are volatile and fast changing. The countries must strive to provide peace, security, clean and healthy environment and investments which become impactful in the fives of people, she said.
“India is one of the leading trading partners of Vietnam and is a major supplier of textiles, garments and chemicals.” said H.E. Mr Cao Quoc Hung (TBC), Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He expressed his desire to see more Indian Investments in Vietnam.
H.E. Mr Chhuon Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia in his Special Address mentioned that physical connectivity between India and ASEAN countries remain highly important to further growth in trade and investments. The need for addressing the emerging challenges of developing highly efficient human resources and promoting the MSME sector are crucial.
Sanjeev Chopra, Principal Secretary, Industries Department, Government of Odisha mentioned that Odisha and ASEAN region have strong historic and geographical linkages. The state highways, geographical coastlines provide smooth connectivity which can be leveraged to strengthen trade and investments.
Dammu Ravi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India mentioned that India and ASEAN have both opened up their trade policies. It is important to put in place a more liberal investment policy.
Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, CII Trade Fairs Council and Managing and Director & CEO JCB India Limited, witnessing the political momentum, expressed his hope in a strong India-ASEAN future.
23 January 2018