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July 20, 2019

Delhi Dialogue VII focuses on India-ASEAN business ties

Delegates discuss business cooperation between ASEAN and India on the first day of Delhi Dialogue VII in New Delhi.—Photo: Ye Myint
Delegates discuss business cooperation between ASEAN and India on the first day of Delhi Dialogue VII in New Delhi.—Photo: Ye Myint

New Delhi, 11 March—Delegates from India and ASEAN discussed the potential for increased economic integration Wednesday on the opening day of a meeting to strengthen relations
between the 10-member regional bloc and the world’s largest democracy.
Under the theme “ASEAN-India: Shaping the Post 2015 Agenda,” the two-day Delhi Dialogue VII for the first time included dedicated business sessions.
Business representatives discussed ASEAN participation in Make in India, a programme to make the country a global manufacturing hub, as well as integration of regional production networks and value chains.
In his inaugural address, Mr. Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said trade between India and ASEAN, its fourth-largest trade partner, was far below its true potential.
“We hope the FTA in goods, when reviewed, will lead to better efficiency and results,” the Secretary (East) said.
Since the signing of the ASEAN-India free trade agreement in goods in 2009, the value of trade between the dialogue partners has risen from under US$44 billion in 2009-2010 to over US$74 billion in 2013-2014.
Dr. APK Mochtan, Deputy Secretary General of the ASEAN Secretariat also said bilateral trade and investment must be increased to reach its potential.
He noted that the combined GDP of ASEAN nations and India was US $2.4 trillion and India was ASEAN’s seventh-largest trading partner. The bilateral trade volume is projected to rise from $70 billion in 2014 to $100 billion in 2015. Against the backdrop of total ASEAN export-import trade of $2.5 trillion, the ASEAN-India trade figures were abysmally low, he said.
ASEAN and India are waiting for ratification of the trade in services agreement in July and conclusion of the negotiation for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) within this year.
The dialogue will include further discussion from political leaders, business leaders, and academics on its final day. GNLM

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