The Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment between India and ASEAN should be speedily concluded, said industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), coinciding with the visit of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Cambodia for the 10th ASEAN-India Summit. Both sides can reap quick gains from implementation of such an agreement, added CII.
The 10th ASEAN-India Summit is being held in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) along with the Seventh East Asia Summit from 18th to 20th November.
“India and ASEAN countries are amongst the biggest beneficiaries of the shift in global economic equations and can jointly leverage their large markets and development endeavors. Close economic and trade ties with 10-member ASEAN block forms the central part of India’s Look East Policy. On the eve of this 10th Indo-ASEAN Summit, CII would like to urge the leaders of both regions to provide much needed political direction for expediting the conclusion of trade and investment agreement being negotiated under the Indo-ASEAN FTA,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.
Following Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit, CII is also organizing the adventurous ASEAN-India Car Rally that will take 31 participating SUVs through eight of the ten ASEAN nations, covering 8000 kilometers. To be flagged off in Yogjakarta (Indonesia) on 26 November, the Rally will culminate in Delhi after 22 exciting days and will be flagged down by Prime Minister and ten ASEAN Heads of State. CII believes that the Rally will further spur infrastructure creation and connectivity between the two vibrant regions of Asia.
‘Marker’ business events to promote trade and investments will be organized in the political and commercial capitals of 6 ASEAN countries along the route and in Guwahati in Assam by CII in partnership with the Indian Missions and local partners.
According to CII, huge benefits would arise from greater integration, especially in the sectors of infrastructure development, education and services. India-ASEAN FTA has opened up new areas of cooperation like trade and investment, agriculture, renewable energy science and technology, education, tourism, climate change, media etc.
ASEAN has emerged as one of the most important trading partners of India accounting for bilateral trade of $79 billion (10 percent of India’s total trade) in 2011-12, crossing the target of $ 70 billion by 2012 set in 2009.
The Summit and the Car Rally are being held as part of the commemoration of 20th Year of Dialogue Partnership between India and ASEAN. From a Sectoral Dialogue Partnership in 1992, India-ASEAN partnership was raised to full Dialogue Partnership in 1996. It was further elevated to annual summits in 2002.