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FTA with ASEAN to enlarge market access for Indian business: FICCI
Aug '09
FICCI Secretary General Dr Amit Mitra
FICCI Secretary General Dr Amit Mitra
FICCI expects the FTA with ASEAN will open up new market opportunities for Indian business with tariff on 80% of ASEAN imports set to become zero in 4 years.

With a strategic approach exports from India could occupy a much higher share in ASEAN total imports (currently India's share is a modest 2.5%). Last year ASEAN-countries together imported $936 billion worth of goods, FICCI said. As regards two-way trade, FICCI would like to see trade turnover going up to $50 billion in 2 years after implementation of the FTA from the existing level of $40 billion. FICCI delegation accompanying Commerce Minister Shri Anand Sharma witnessed signing of the India-ASEAN FTA on the sidelines of 41st ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok.

What is critically important, India's most sensitive and vulnerable sectors are protected in terms of negative list and sensitive list. For instance, palm oil, tea, coffee and pepper are put under “highly sensitive list” and import duties on them will be lowered to around 40-45 per cent by 2019. Several products in the areas of agri-commodities, auto components, textiles, plastics and chemicals have been safeguarded through India's 'negative list' on which there will be no tariff reduction. In addition, products listed in the sensitive track will be subjected to gentler tariff reduction over relatively longer time period, the apex Chamber pointed out.

FICCI Secretary General Dr Amit Mitra added “We have to remember that the agreement is not an agreement in goods alone. It would eventually cover services and investment too. FICCI, therefore, expects that Indian professionals and service providers would be able to have greater market access in the ASEAN region once FTA in services is in force.” The ASEAN region is a net importer of services and it imported nearly $180 billion worth of services in 2007. In view of this and India's competitive advantages in terms of cost and expertise in a range of areas, the proposed agreement would benefit India, FICCI observed.


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