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ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA)

➢ Agreed upon during the meeting between economic ministers of ASEAN and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Bangkok -India and the 10-member bloc ASEAN to initiate a review of the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in goods to make it more user-friendly, simple and trade facilitative.

➢ The two sides also decided to constitute a joint committee for this purpose, according to a statement

AITIGA

➢ The ASEAN–India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) is a free trade area among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India.

➢ The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (TIG) was signed at the 7th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) – India Consultations in Bangkok, Thailand on 13 August 2009.

➢ It came into force from January 2010.

➢ Under the pact, two trading partners set timelines for eliminating duties on the maximum number of goods traded between the two regions.

➢ Based on preliminary ASEAN data, two-way goods trade with India grew by 9.8 per cent from $73.6 billion in 2017 to $80.8 billion in 2018.

The Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and India was signed in October 2003 and served as legal basis to conclude further agreements, including Trade in Goods Agreement, Trade in Services Agreement, and Investment Agreement that form the ASEAN-Indian Free Trade Area (AIFTA)

Need for review

➢ India is not happy about the fact that its trade deficit with ASEAN has widened significantly since the pact was implemented.

➢ A NITI Aayog study reveals that India’s trade deficit with ASEAN doubled to $10 billion in 2017 from $5 billion in 2011.

➢ One of the reasons for the growing deficit is the low utilisation of the FTA route by Indian exporters to ASEAN countries because of difficulties faced in negotiating the rules.

➢ A review of the India-ASEAN FTA could help improve utilisation in India by making the pact simpler and more user-friendly.

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