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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


Asean-India FTA likely to be finalised at summit
The long awaited Free Trade Agreement between Asean and India in the services and investment sectors will most likely be finalised at a summit in New Delhi this week.
Thailand: Business worried about India FTA
Private sector concerned about opening of professional labour market; Yingluck reportedly keen to wrap up full free-trade deal soon
Malaysia aims to conclude Asean-India Free Trade Agreement by December
Malaysia aims to conclude the Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the services and investment sectors by early December, said Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Service sector hurdles may block expanding ASEAN-India FTA
ASEAN member nations are committing to forging an expanded FTA with India in late December, despite hurdles in the service sector, with negotiations not progressing as expected, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said late Monday.
India, ASEAN FTA talks on services, investment in final stages
Negotiations on the much-delayed Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment between India and 10-nation ASEAN grouping are in the final stages and effort is being made to conclude these by next month.
Asean-India FTA negotiations reach deadlock
Negotiations to widen the Asean-India free trade agreement in the services and investment sectors have reached a deadlock.
DNA exclusive: India digs in heels on free trade pact with Asean
Ahead of the Indo-Asean summit on free trade agreement on November 19, India is considering the proposal of suspending negotiations on both services and investment.
India, ASEAN to review talks on FTA in services and investments
Trade ministers of India and 10-member ASEAN will review the progress of ongoing negotiations to widen the base of free trade agreement between them by including services and investments.
‘India-Asean FTA has more potential for bilateral trade’
Hyderabad/The India-Asean Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is under-utilised, as it has more potential for increasing bilateral trade, according to Mr Vichael Angelo, Commercial Attache, the Philippines Department of Trade & Industry.
Services sector deal with asean bloc stuck
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will reach Bali on Thursday to hold meetings with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and attend the East Asia Summit over the weekend, but a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the 10-member regional bloc remains elusive.