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Bid to plug Asean FTA gap

Piyush Goyal wants the review of the free-trade pact to start before the end of this year
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 31.08.20, 01:23 AM

Commerce and industries minister Piyush Goyal has insisted the rules of origin provisions be strengthened during the review of the free trade pact with Asean. The provisions are meant to stop nations use the third-party route to import goods cheaply into India, using the preferential trade arrangements between the third country and India.

Goyal wants the review of the free-trade pact with Asean members, which has been “inordinately delayed”,  to start before the end of this year.

The issue was discussed during the 17th Asean-India Economic Ministers Consultations meet held virtually on August 29, an official statement said on Sunday.

Goyal highlighted that the pact has to be mutually beneficial and a win-win for all sides. He also expressed the need to work towards the removal of non-tariff barriers and provide better market access to Indian businesses.

Trade ministers of India and the 10-member Asean countries have instructed their officials to start discussions to determine the scope of review of the free trade agreement (FTA) at the earliest. Goyal and Tran Tuan Anh, minister of industry and trade of Vietnam, co-chaired the consultations.

It was attended by trade ministers of all the Asean countries — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-India trade in goods agreement was signed on August 13, 2009 and came into force on January 1, 2010.


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