Friday, 26 August 2011


The India –Asian Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on 1st Jan 2010, is a milestone in the relations between India and ASEAN. The agreement was the result of 6 years of negotiations. The FTA would eliminate tariffs on 4000 products. The tariff on 4000 goods would be reduced by the year 2013 and tariff on the remaining 800 products would be reduced by the year 2016. The FTA was signed on Aug 13, 2009 at Bangkok. The 498 goods excluded from the list of tariff concession and 590 goods excluded from tariff elimination in the FTA are related in the farm products, automobiles, some auto parts, machinery, chemicals, crude and textile products. Tariff cuts in respective of certain sensitive items like palm oil, tea, coffee, pepper would be graduated during a period of 10 years. The FTA is likely to boost trade between the two in coming years. It should be noted that FTA covers trade in goods only. Trade in services and investments are not covered by this agreement. During the Hanoi Summit (Oct 31, 2010) both India and ASEAN have agreed to an early conclusion of negotiations with respect to FTA in services and investments. ASEAN has already signed such FTA’s with China, Japan and South Korea.

India-ASEAN Summits

Ist              Nov, 2002                       Phnom PenhCambodia.
IInd            Oct, 2003                       Bali—Indonesia.
IIIrd          Nov, 2004                       VientianeLaos.
IVth            Dec, 2005                       Kuala Lumpur—Malayasia.
Vth              Jan, 2007                        Cebu—Phillipines.
VIth            Nov, 2007                       Singapore.
VIIth          Oct, 2009                       Chaam Hua Hin—Thailand.
VIIIth        Oct, 2010                        HanoiVietnam.
IXth            May, 2011                         Jakarta.

XIIth Summit is proposed to be held in India, in 2012 on the eve of 10th anniversary of beginning of India-ASEAN Summits. A major achievement in the cultural cooperation is the planned development of Nalanda University ( which was a great learning center for Buddhism, in ancient times).

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