India and ASEAN Countries Collaborate to Revamp Trade Pact, Aiming for Equitable Relations

Marking a momentous development, India and the ASEAN nations have forged an agreement to reassess their prevailing free trade pact for goods, underscoring their shared dedication to mitigating trade disparities. The Commerce Ministry’s proclamation serves as a catalyst for fortifying bilateral trade relations through a comprehensive reevaluation.

The Joint Committee of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA), originally inked in 2009, convened with the pivotal task of charting the course for revisiting the pact. Triumphantly, the committee reached a consensus on the terms of reference, effectively paving the way for commencing fresh negotiations that herald a full-scale review of the trade accord.

Against the backdrop of a significant ASEAN-India Economic Ministers’ meeting hosted in Indonesia, the ministers collectively forged a strategic blueprint for the impending review process. A quarterly negotiation timeline was endorsed, alongside a clear-cut objective: concluding the comprehensive review by 2025. This forward-looking target accentuates the commitment to fostering a trade landscape that mutually benefits both parties, contributing to their respective growth trajectories.

The persistent plea from Indian enterprises for an exhaustive AITIGA review has now culminated in a pivotal juncture. The inception of this review process is poised to streamline trade practices, infusing them with greater facilitation and mutual advantage. The Ministry notably stressed the alignment of this initiative with the aspirations of Indian businesses, effectively laying the groundwork for recalibrating the trade relationship to a more harmonious equilibrium.

The imminent reevaluation of AITIGA signals an opportune juncture to elevate and diversify the trade interactions shared between India and the ASEAN nations. By methodically addressing the prevailing trade asymmetry, this review strives to establish a fairer, more even-handed platform for economic engagement. This comprehensive endeavor is poised to not only invigorate economic growth but also to fortify the diplomatic connections binding these two regions.

The freshly examined AITIGA now advances to the eagerly anticipated India-ASEAN Leaders’ Summit, slated for early September. At this pivotal summit, further guidance and direction will be imparted, constituting yet another pivotal milestone in the trajectory towards reinvigorating and harmonizing the trade relationship between India and the ASEAN community.