AIBC Calls For Immediate Review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement

By V. Sankara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 (NNN-Bernama) — The ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC) has called for the immediate review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement which was signed and came into force in 2010, said AIBC co-chairman Ramesh Kodammal.

He said this matter was raised when the AIBC delegation paid a courtesy call on Senior Minister cum Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mohamed Azmin Ali last Thursday (Jan 7) at his office in Putrajaya, the Malaysia’s federal administrative capital.

“The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement must be reviewed as this would help realise the true bilateral trade potential between India and the 10-member nation bloc of ASEAN countries,” he said in a statement to Bernama.

Commenting further, Ramesh said the review of the agreement must be expedited in order to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) to be more user-friendly and simple for businesses by further deepening duty reduction and make the rules of origin more trade facilitative. The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement was signed and entered into force on Jan 1, 2010.

Under the agreement, ASEAN member states and India have agreed to open their respective markets by progressively reducing and eliminating duties on 76.4 per cent coverage of goods.

Ramesh said during the meeting with Mohamed Azmin, AIBC stressed on the true market potentials in the combined population of ASEAN and India of close to two billion which is yet to be fully explored.

“India is an important market for commodities such as palm oil, rubber, petroleum and a range of products besides being an important source market for ASEAN imports of various agriculture and manufactured products,” he said, adding that the current bilateral trade between ASEAN and India is about US$77.48 billion (US$1=RM4.03), with ASEAN exports to India totalling US$48.25 billion.

Ramesh said during the meeting, Mohamed Azmin also welcomed the efforts taken by AIBC to foster greater business linkages between ASEAN, Malaysia and India besides widening its networks through closer collaboration and engagement with other leading business councils and organisations such as the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry India (FICCI) and other chambers of commerce and industry in the different provinces in India.