INDIA-ASEAN CEPA BY THIS YEAR END: ANAND SHARMA
INDIA-ASEAN BUSINESS FAIR AND BUSINESS CONCLAVE INAUGURATED
Date : 02 Mar 2011
Location : New Delhi
Shri Anand Sharma, Commerce & Industry Minister, has inaugurated the 1st India-ASEAN Business Fair & Business Conclave here today. Speaking on the occasion, he said that by the end of this year Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and ASEAN will be in place. He said that India is committed to larger economic integration of Asia which will be in natural process in the current global environment. He pointed out that there is a willingness among India and ASEAN countries to put in place institutional arrangements for taking the cooperation to next levels. ‘More we engage with each other, our countries will seize the opportunities that beacon us all’, he added. Shri Sharma further added that India and ASEAN signed Trade in Goods Agreement in 2009 which was implemented by 8 ASEAN countries so far and the Services and Investment Agreement is under negotiation. ASEAN Ministers and the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN were present on the occasion. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) is the lead coordinator of the event.
India-ASEAN trade reached the target set by the Leaders at the 6th India-ASEAN Summit in 2007 at Singapore of US $ 50 billion by 2010. India-ASEAN trade in 2010 stands at US $ 50.33 billion with India’s exports accounting for US $ 22.52 billion and imports accounting for US $ 27.81 billion. India-ASEAN trade grew by a healthy 22% over the previous year. “With the coming into force of the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, both sides are confident that the trade target of US$ 70 billion by 2012 would also be achieved”, Shri Sharma said.
Speaking on behalf of ASEAN countries, Mr. Dato Seri Mustapa Mohamed of Malaysia also emphasised that ASEAN-India trade in Goods Agreement is only just the beginning. ‘There are challenges among the way but not insurmountable given the strong political commitment’, he said. The Minister added that opportunities created by the realisation of the ASEAN economic community by 2015 coupled with India’s impressive growth will provide the right ingredients for synergistic development of our respective economies.
Earlier in the day, Shri Sharma and all the ASEAN Ministers made a courtesy call on the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and apprised him of the progress in India-ASEAN relations. Shri Sharma informed that the Prime Minister has invited all the Heads of ASEAN countries to India for the first Summit to be held soon in Delhi. The ASEAN Ministers include Mr. Lim Jock Seng, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brunei; Mr. Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister & Minister of Commerce, Cambodia; Mr. Nam Viyaket, Minister of Industry & Commerce, Laos; Mr. Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia; Mr. U Aye Ko, Director General, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, Myanmar; Mr. Gregory Domingo, Secretary, Trade & Industry, Philippines; Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore; Ms. Porntiva Nakasai, Minister of Commerce, Thailand; and Mr. Nguyen Thanh Bien, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Vietnam.
Shri Sharma also held bilateral discussions with his counterparts from Thailand, Philippines and Singapore later in the day. All the delegates of the Fair were treated to a cultural evening organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
India-ASEAN Business Fair is an Exhibition and a Business Conclave that brings together Policymakers, Business Leaders, Think Tanks, Investors, Importers/Exporters and Entrepreneurs from India and the 10 ASEAN Countries across a wide industry spectrum of businesses to explore the opportunities that the free trade region of the 11 countries created by the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement provides. More than 500 exhibitors have registered for the event.