ASEAN - India Trade Hits US$76.53 Billion


ASEAN - India Trade Hits US$76.53 Billion

NEW DELHI, Feb 17 (Bernama) -- Trade between India and ASEAN countries crossed US$76.53 billion in 2014-15, with the host country at the eighth edition of the Delhi Dialogue looking for ways to further enhancing the trade.

Ministry of Exeternal Affairs Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa in his keynote address at the business session of the dialogue said India is currently undergoing economic and social transformation on a scale and at a speed unmatched in the country's history.

He said among ASEAN countries, Indonesia is the largest trading partner with bilateral trade at US$19.03 billion in the period, followed by Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Despite the global economic uncertainties, the steps India took to improve the business climate had resulted in FDI inflows going up by 40 per cent last year, he said.

"We have become the world's seventh most valued nation brand with a 32 per cent sprint in brand value; we have improved our UNCTAD ranking of investment attractiveness from 15th to 9th place; and Moody's have upgraded our rating to positive," Anil said.

He pointed out that with the formal establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in December 2015, ASEAN is forging ahead as a community by deepening its economic integration among member countries.

"Collectively the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh in the world, the AEC offers many prospects and opportunities, including a middle income market of 622 million people.

"It will further enable our businesses to jointly explore opportunities in the wider Southeast Asian region," Anil told some 200 diplomats, business leaders and journalists from India and Asean countries.

He said a significant achievement over the last few years has been the completion of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area with the entry into force of the ASEAN-India Agreements on Trade in Services and Investment on July 1, 2015.

So far, India, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand have ratified the Agreements.

Meanwhile, ASEAN-India Business Council Co-Chairman Datuk Ramesh Kodammal said at the panel discussion that with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to lure more FDI into country, there is great potential of further growth for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

He said the nearly 20,000 SMEs in the ASEAN region lack knowledge and information on the latest developments in India.

"India needs to facilitate these SMEs in gettting the right local partner to expand their businesses in not only major cities here but also the second-tier cities," he said.


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