India-ASEAN Countries Meet, Initiates Review on Free Trade Agreement

India met with the 10 South-East Asian countries forming ASEAN; both the parties have agreed to review their free trade agreement that was signed way back in 2009. The review intends to make trade between countries more business-friendly and boost the economic relationship.

The economic ministers of ASEAN and Piyush Goyal, the Commerce Minister of India, have agreed to set up a joint committee to review the agreements. The event happened in Bangkok on 10 September 2019 at the 16th AEM-India Consultations.

After the meeting, a joint statement was given out stating the ministers have agreed to initiate the review process of the ASEAN-India trade agreement. The ministers have delegated orders to their tasked officials to work on the finer details of the review and to submit an update by the next ministerial meet.

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The ASEAN-India Business Council has submitted its recommendations on the matter. The recommendations are said to further promote the bandwidth of bilateral trade through the perks of the free trade pact and the advantages available in the sectors such as connectivity, financial technology, startups, and innovations.

Recalling about the India-ASEAN pact, it came into effect from January 2010. According to the pact, two trading partners set timelines to eliminate duties on as many goods as possible that are traded between the two regions. The 10 ASEAN countries that have signed the pact are Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Laos.

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