Shri Kamal Nath, Commerce & Industry Minister, participated in Asean Economic Ministers(AEM)-India Consultation Meeting held at Cebu (Philippines) yesterday.
Trade Ministers of Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Brunei, Lao, Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam took stock of the current status of negotiations under India-ASEAN-FTA and discussed broad principles pertaining to modalities for tariff elimination and tariff reduction.
Shri Kamal Nath mentioned that India had already offered proposal for tariff concessions which provided satisfactory market access to ASEAN countries.
Shri Nath called upon ASEAN member countries to provide reciprocal market access for India's exports. He also expressed concern about ASEAN's Sensitive Lists and urged ASEAN to review and reduce it.
ASEAN agreed to India's proposal for maintaining a Negative List of 490 items with trade coverage not exceeding 5% by both sides.
During the meeting, there was a broad consensus among the Ministers that ASEAN-India FTA needs to be concluded early not merely for reasons of bilateral trade but also for larger strategic reasons.
It was agreed that negotiators would meet and resolve the remaining outstanding issues preferably by July 2007.