India’s search for economic and strategic space in changing world order resulted in ‘Look East’ Policy. The bedrock of this policy is to foster economic and security cooperation with our east neighboring countries. Believing in philosophy of the Look East Policy, India is aiming at leveraging its economic and strategic interest by greater integration with East and South-east Asia.
It is also an attempt to forge closer and deeper economic, social and institutional assimilation with its eastern neighbors. Keeping this in mind, India signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which now provides a land bridge to connect with member countries. ASEAN is not merely an external economic policy; it is also a strategic shift in India’s vision of the world and India’s place in the evolving global economy with intent to become India’s partner in trade and investment which is a significant factor in our policy paradigm.
A deepening relationship
India-ASEAN agreement took around six years to negotiate, eliminates tariff on some 4000 products by 2016. The India-ASEAN FTA came into force on 1st January, 2010 and expects bilateral trade to reach US $ 70 billion in next three years. India-ASEAN trade during the calendar year 2009 was – exports $ 17.3 billion and imports $ 23.8 billion – and during 2010 – exports $ 22.3 billion and imports $ 27.8 billion.
The main sectors of cooperation between India and ASEAN are: Agriculture & Food Processing, Infrastructure, Tourism, Automotive, Education, Pharmaceuticals, Textiles, IT, etc.
The partnership between India and ASEAN comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has been developing at faster pace. The India-ASEAN FTA covers 95% of trade providing huge opportunities for exports in sectors of trade complementarities.
India-ASEAN business fair & business conclave 2011
India-ASEAN Business Fair & Business Conclave which is to be held from 2-6 March 2011, in New Delhi will be a defining event which will epitomize the post-ASEAN FTA synergy between the two major trading partners. This first major event after the FTA will be a unique blend of exhibition, meeting of captains of trade and industry and business conclave.
The main objective of the fair is to promote Brand India and provide a platform to Indian companies to showcase their strengths and capabilities in both developed and emerging markets with respect to Indian products, technologies and services.
This Fair, apart from business and commerce, focuses on the soft power of India portraying the rich Indian cultural heritage, as exhibited through cultural events, food festivals, etc. It provides unique opportunity to build on the positives arising from the India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement.
The Business Fair and Business Conclave 2011 is being coordinated by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), is first of its kind and will bring together business leaders and practitioners for knowledge sharing and business development across industry segments from India and 10 ASEAN countries.
The Fair will be inaugurated by Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry on 2nd March, 2011. The Trade & Industry Ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries will be participating with a high-level business delegation. Over 500 Businesses from India & ASEAN countries would be participating in India-ASEAN Business Fair & Business Conclave. Indian Majors like Tata Motors, BHEL, IRCON, APTECH, WAPCOS, etc are also showcasing their product lines.
The focus sectors of display and interest of businesses during the India-ASEAN Business Fair & Conclave are Banking, Tourism, Automotive, Construction, Oil & Gas, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics, Chemicals, Light Engineering, Electrical Equipments, Aluminum & Stainless Steel, Training, Health Products, Infrastructure, Transportation Logistic Services, Shipbuilding & Repairs, Jewellery, Garments, Consultancy Services, Pharmaceuticals, IT & IT enabled Services, Chemicals, Architect Services, Auto parts, personal care products, Construction & Mining, Agri & Food processing and many more.
Asia a continent of hope
This business fair has endeavored to engage with the economies of the East in a comprehensive manner. India has already progressed towards economic integration with countries such as Singapore, the ASEAN block, Korea, Japan and Malaysia and is in the process of negotiating a Comprehensive Partnership Agreements with Thailand, New Zealand and Indonesia. In future, pan-Asian integration through initiatives such as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) would be part of the future dynamics of Look East Policy.
India is working actively with other partners to facilitate such integration and provide appropriate direction and pace. Businesses in ASEAN countries and India should together form partnerships to take advantage of the synergy and also aim to expand to other parts of the world complementing each others’ strengths and capabilities. As a new global economic order emerges, world is looking at Asia with hope. India and ASEAN can together leverage their advantages to promote and strengthen Asia to play a major role in changing global economic and political landscape.
*The article is written by Sameer Pushp
(Courtesy: PIB Feature).
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