KNN India - 8 October 2021
India calls ASEAN for removal of Non-Tariff Barriers
Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, has called upon the ASEAN bloc to do away with Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).
Addressing the “Special Plenary with the Trade Ministers of the Region: Indo-ASEAN Business”, organised by the CII, Union Minister Goyal also called for “curbing the misuse of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) by third parties, often outside the ASEAN Region.”
“It is unfortunate that in the recent past we had to deal with several restrictive barriers on our exports to the ASEAN region, particularly in the Agriculture & Auto sector. I think these only result in reciprocal action from other countries including from India, and will hurt the long term desire of our leaders to expand trade between the two countries,” said Commerce Minister Goyal, in his address through video conference.
He also called upon the ASEAN Bloc to allow reciprocal FTA concessions to imports from India to correct the skewed trade imbalance in favour of the ASEAN.
“India has currently been witnessing exponential growth in imports from the ASEAN Region while our exports have been impeded by non-reciprocity in FTA concessions, NTBs, import regulations, quotas & export taxes from ASEAN countries. Such a review will enable alignment with contemporary trade practices, procedures & regulatory harmonization,” said Union Minister Goyal.
“Current trade of about USD 80 Billion makes Indo-ASEAN region one the largest trading areas globally. Despite increasing trade we are short of the target of USD 200 bn, which India & ASEAN were to achieve by 2022,” he added.
He reiterated the importance for fair, equitable, transparent, reciprocal and inclusive trade rather than enhancing trade through tariff reductions.
“Let me also underscore that if we were to review the ASEAN-India Trade In Goods Agreement (AITIGA), it may truly promote trade on both sides, support industry and manufacturing on both sides and help us support each other to truly become modern, progressive economies,” he said.
This year marks the 25th Anniversary of India-ASEAN partnership. India’s bilateral trade with ASEAN has grown steadily. India’s merchandise exports to ASEAN increased from USD 23 bn in 2010 to USD 30 bn in 2020. While India’s imports from ASEAN have surged from USD 30 bn in 2010 to USD 44 bn in 2020.
“We are implementing one of the biggest vaccination drive anywhere in the world, having crossed 930 million vaccine doses so far, soon going to (reach) the 1 billion mark. We expect that in the next few weeks India will have a fully vaccinated adult population and probably in another 3-4 months we would be fully double dose vaccinated across the length and breadth of the country for all willing adults. Our one day record has exceeded 23 million vaccines,” he said.
He said a prosperous ASEAN is central to India’s Vision for Indo-Pacific region with Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
“With a combined population of 2.1 billion, India & ASEAN countries are home to rapidly growing markets with immense opportunities. By combining our strengths, we can rewrite and make a golden chapter of progress and prosperity for the 30 percent of the world population that reside in ASEAN countries and India,” he said.