India and ASEAN Signed a New Free Trade Agreement
India signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in services and investment with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on Monday in New Delhi. The accord is aimed at allowing freer movement of professionals and encouraging investment.
India already signed another FTA in goods with the bloc in 2009. India was keen on the services deal as it did not gain much from the pact on goods due to already lower tariffs in the region.
Asean - comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - and India are targeting $100 billion in trade by 2015. Nine out of 10 Asean countries have signed the accord, while the Philippines is expected to do so soon after completing domestic procedures. Under the circulation process, each ASEAN member will separately sign the agreement and it will become effective only after the last member signs the pact.
The services pact signed with Asean covers issues such as transparency, domestic regulations, recognition, market access, national treatment, increasing participation of developing countries, joint committee on services, review, dispute settlement and denial of benefits.