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India to soon implement FTA with Indonesia, Cambodia

New Delhi: India will soon implement the free trade agreement (FTA) in goods with two more Asean countries - Indonesia, Cambodia - by slashing duties on hundreds of products including seafood, chemicals, apparel and tyres.

In turn, the two countries will also slash import duties on hundreds of Indian goods.

The agreement, to be operationalised with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on 1st January, is already functional with four members -Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

"Indonesia and Cambodia have completed the internal approval process of the pact. They have formally informed commerce minister Anand Sharma in Vietnam. Both will issue a notification in this effect with in a week," a senior commerce ministry official said.

Mr Sharma had on 27th August attended the India-ASEAN Economic Ministers Meet in Da Nang in Vietnam.

The remaining four - Laos, Philippines, Brunei and Myanmar - members would take some more time to implement the pact, the official said.

Though Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia account for more than 90% of India's trade with ASEAN countries, the remaining seven are also important markets, he added.

India-ASEAN trade in goods was $45 billion in 2008-09.

The two sides aim to increase their trade to $50 billion by the end of 2010.

They are also engaged in advanced negotiations to widen the base of the trade pact by including services and investments.

The services sector has emerged as an important area for export earnings and India is looking at expanding trade with the ASEAN in areas like banking, insurance, health, accountancy, architecture and engineering.

The ASEAN countries are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

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