India-ASEAN Business Fair and Business Conclave Kicks Off In New Delhi

Manipur delegates at the India-ASEAN Business Fair & Business Conclave 2011, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Image Credit: Naharolgi Thoudang.

NEW DELHI, Mar 2: India-ASEAN Business Fair and Business Conclave-2011 kicked off at Pragati Maidan (Exhibition Ground), the venue of Asia’s largest business fair, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The five-day Fair (2-6 March), inaugurated by India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, is being jointly organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), will bring together Business leaders and Practitioners for knowledge sharing and business development across industry segments from India and 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Countries.

Inaugurating the conclave, Sharma said: “India will sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the 10-member ASEAN by the end of this year.”

He said ASEAN countries had shown willingness to put in place an institutional arrangement for taking the cooperation with India to next levels.

India signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with ASEAN in September 2009.

Eight out of 10 member countries have so far implemented the agreement.

India aims to increase its trade with ASEAN countries to $70 billion by 2012.

India’s total trade with ASEAN countries was $50.33 billion in 2010.

This included $22.52 billion of Indian exports and $27.81 billion imports.

The two-way trade grew 22 percent in 2010.

‘With coming into force of the India-ASEAN trade in goods agreement, both sides are confident that the trade target of $70 billion by 2012 would be achieved,’ the minister said.

Sharma said India was committed to larger economic integration of Asian countries given the instability in the global economy.

‘The more we engage with each other, our countries will seize the opportunities we have,’ he said.

Speaking on behalf of ASEAN countries, Dato Seri Mustapa Mohamed of Malaysia also emphasized that ASEAN-India trade in Goods Agreement is only just the beginning.

‘There are challenges among the way but not insurmountable given the strong political commitment,’ he said.

The Minister added that opportunities created by the realization of the ASEAN economic community by 2015 coupled with India’s impressive growth will provide the right ingredients for synergistic development of our respective economies.

India-ASEAN Business Fair is an Exhibition and a Business Conclave that brings together Policymakers, Business Leaders, Think Tanks, Investors, Importers/Exporters and Entrepreneurs from India and the 10 ASEAN Countries across a wide industry spectrum of businesses to explore the opportunities that the free trade region of the 11 countries created by the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement provides. More than 500 exhibitors have registered for the event.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

(Courtesy: IRNA)

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