NEW DELHI: The ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Consultations were held to discuss the review of the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA), an official statement said on Sunday.
The virtual meeting, held on Saturday, was co-chaired by Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Tran Tuan Anh, Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam, It was attended by the trade ministers of all the 10 ASEAN countries.
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take collective actions in mitigating the economic impact of the pandemic and resolved to ensure macroeconomic and financial stability and resilient supply chain connectivity, particularly the unimpeded flow of essential goods and medicines in the region, in compliance with the WTO rules. They appreciated the growing trade ties and deepening economic engagement between two parties. The report of the ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC) was placed before the ministers. The AIBC Report has recommended that the AITIGA be reviewed for mutual benefit. As per the Commerce Ministry statement, the ministers from India and ASEAN countries instructed the senior officials to start the discussions to determine the scope of the review at the earliest to make the Free Trade Agreement more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitative for businesses.
"The review will make the agreement modern with contemporary trade facilitative practices, and streamlined customs and regulatory procedures," it said.
Initiating the discussion, Goyal highlighted that the Free Trade Agreement has to be mutually beneficial and a win-win for all sides. He expressed the need to strengthen the Rules of Origin provisions, work towards the removal of non-tariff barriers and provide better market access.
The minister also spoke of India's consistent position that the review of the AITIGA has been inordinately delayed. He requested for closer engagement towards finalisation of the scoping exercise, before the ASEAN-India Leaders' Summit scheduled in November 2020 and to start the full review before the end of this year.
He also stated that India and ASEAN shared a close friendship, strongly tied with historical, cultural and traditional bonds and this relationship would continue to grow for the prosperity of the people of India and the ASEAN countries. India also made suggestions to further strengthen the AIBC and the forum agreed to consider these suggestions to deepen the economic engagement between the two parties. (IANS)