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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 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.
PM sets March 2012 deadline for services FTA with Asean
There are few places in Southeast Asia that carry as deep an imprint of India’s civilisational links as Bali, a majority Hindu island in a country that has the world’s largest Islamic population.
FTA with Asean hurting domestic market, reveals Ficci survey
The India-Asean Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect from January 2010, has been a mixed bag so far. While more opportunities have opened up for Indian industries, in terms of greater market access for their products in the Asean region, the duty reduction on imports from Asean countries, in turn, has hit India’s domestic market.
Philippines refuse to open up its services market to Indian professionals
The Philippines has refused to make any meaningful offer to open up its services market to Indian professionals, thus playing the spoilsport in the recent India-Asean services negotiations in Indonesia.
Sharma to push Asean on services deal this week
Trade ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and India’s minister of commerce and industry, Anand Sharma, meet this week to push the much-awaited services trade deal, that got stuck over the issue of movement of professionals.
Philippines to ratify Indo-Asean FTA soon
After more than a year since the free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) became operational, it is now approaching consolidation.