Economic Times, India
India, Asean to ink economic pact by year-end: Anand Sharma
2 March 2011
NEW DELHI: India will sign a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by the end of this year, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Wednesday.
"By the end of this year, a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between India and Asean will be in place," Sharma said at an India-Asean business conclave here.
He said Asean countries had shown willingness to put in place an institutional arrangement for taking the cooperation with India to next levels.
India signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Asean in September 2009. Eight out of the 10 member countries have so far implemented the agreement.
Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
India aims to increase its trade with Asean countries to $70 billion by 2012.
India’s total trade with Asean countries was $50.33 billion in 2010. This included $22.52 billion of Indian exports and $27.81 billion imports. The two-way trade grew 22 percent in 2010.
"With coming into force of the India-Asean trade in goods agreement, both sides are confident that the trade target of $70 billion by 2012 would be achieved," the minister said.
Sharma said India was committed to larger economic integration of Asian countries given the instability in the global economy. "The more we engage with each other, our countries will seize the opportunities" we have, he said.