New Delhi: ASEAN countries have agreed to review the Free Trade Agreement. Given India's concerns, ASEAN has acknowledged that the FTA needs to be more business-friendly to further strengthen economic relations. To achieve this objective, this organization has also agreed to form a joint committee. A review of the FTA was agreed at a meeting of the Finance Ministers of 10 countries of South East Asia in Thailand's capital Bangkok.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal participated in this meeting on behalf of India. The joint statement said that keeping in mind the interests of industry and business groups, all ministers agreed that this agreement between India and ASEAN in 2009 needed to be reviewed. Ministers have now entrusted the responsibility to the officer level who will review the agreement before the next ministerial-level meeting and submit their report in the next meeting.
ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Laos, and Vietnam. India and ASEAN countries had a turnover of $ 80.8 billion in 2018 compared to $ 73.6 billion in 2017. The import of products like steel, petrochemicals, and textiles into India increased considerably due to the reduction of customs duty due to free trade agreements with various countries, which increased the problems of the domestic industry. Therefore, a review is needed.
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