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India-ASEAN

Over a period of five years, India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) negotiated a bilateral free trade agreement — with plenty of difficulty.

Under their initial bilateral framework agreement, signed in Bali on 8 October 2003, the India-ASEAN FTA for goods was supposed to be finalised by 30 June 2005. Negotiations on services would start in 2005 and end in 2007.

After a year’s delay, discussions ground to a halt in June 2006 when India released its ’negative list’ of items to be excluded from tariff reductions — with 900 products, both industrial and agricultural, figuring on the list. (This was down from India’s initial negative list of 1,410 items.) India’s agriculture ministry, in particular, was arguing hard to exclude commodities like rubber, pepper, tea, coffee and palm oil from the deal. Rules of origin have been the other thorny issue.

Two months later, in August 2006, Delhi issued a revised list, pruned down to 560 items. However, tremendous fears about the impacts of the India-ASEAN FTA on farmers continued to rattle the discussion.

By early 2007, in the midst of the new biofuels boom, palm oil became a central blockage point as Indonesia and Malaysia, both top palm oil exporters, struggled to get India to lower its tariffs.

On 28 August 2008, a deal was finally concluded. The agreement was signed in 2009 and took effect (trade in goods) with 5 of the countries and India in January 2010, (Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Myanmar and Thailand). India is pushing – without much apparent process – for a services liberalization deal with the ASEAN countries.

last update: May 2012


India-ASEAN FTA review could include further liberalisation of trade in goods
The proposed scope of the review of the free trade agreement between India and ASEAN could include issues like customs procedures, further liberalisation of trade in goods and exchange of data
Asean may soon conclude review of FTA with India
The Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) may soon conclude FTA (free-trade agreement) review with India. The aim is to balance China in the Indo-Pacific.
Review of FTA with Asean will help balance trade: PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said a review of India’s free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will help balance trade between the two.
India, ASEAN agree to review free trade pact in goods
India and 10-member bloc of South-East Asian nations have agreed to review their free trade agreement, signed in 2009, to make it more business-friendly and boost economic ties.
As palm oils get dumped, processors become packers
India’s edible oil security at stake as palm oil imports continue to rise unabated under the India-Malaysia FTA
India-ASEAN FTA should be reviewed, upgraded: Vietnam
Vietnam’s Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh said bilateral ties were on an upswing with several visits of dignitaries exchanged between the two countries recently and an expected "high-level" visit from India slated for later this year.
On partnership anniversary, India-ASEAN vow to strengthen cooperation
On the occasion of 25th anniversary of country’s relationship with 10-nation ASEAN grouping, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strongly pitched for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), saying it will further strengthen cooperation and economic integration in the region.
India-ASEAN services & investment FTA to be in force from July
India’s free trade agreement (FTA) in services and investments with 10-member ASEAN Grouping will come into force from July this year, paving the way for freer movement of professionals and further investment opportunities.
India gains little from FTAs on services front
If you thought India’s services trade agreement with Asean is going to open the doors for Indian professionals to work in the 10-member trading bloc, you may be in for a surprise. Similar agreements with Japan and South Korea — which the government said will help Indian nurses, architects and even yoga professionals have not resulted in any visas.
Asean free trade agreement review shows India ’got almost nothing’
Barely a month after the government sealed the trade pact in services and investments with the Asean, an internal assessment of the deal that has been placed before the Cabinet Secretariat concludes that India has got “almost nothing” by signing the agreement.