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India and ASEAN Review Trade Agreement for Enhanced Collaboration

Putrajaya: The 4th Joint Committee meeting to review the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) took place in Putrajaya, Malaysia, from May 7th to May 9th, 2024. Co-chaired by Shri Rajesh Agrawal, Additional Secretary of the Department of Commerce, India, and Ms. Mastura Ahmad Mustafa, Deputy Secretary General (Trade) of the Ministry of Investment, Trade & Industry, Malaysia, the meeting witnessed the participation of delegates from India and all 10 ASEAN countries.

The purpose of the meeting was to undertake a comprehensive review of AITIGA, aiming to enhance its trade-facilitative measures and benefit businesses across the region. Discussions for the review of AITIGA began in May 2023 and have seen four Joint Committee meetings thus far. The Terms of Reference and Negotiating Structure for the review negotiations were finalized in the initial two meetings, with negotiations initiated from the third meeting held in New Delhi from February 18th to 19th, 2024.

To streamline the review process, eight Sub-Committees were constituted, with five of them commencing discussions. Four Sub-Committees focusing on ‘National Treatment and Market Access,’ ‘Rules of Origin,’ ‘Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures,’ and ‘Legal and Institutional Issues’ convened physically in Putrajaya, Malaysia, alongside the 4th AITIGA Joint Committee. Additionally, the Sub-Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary met earlier on May 3rd, 2024. The Joint Committee provided necessary guidance to these Sub-Committees.

ASEAN holds a significant position as one of India’s major trade partners, accounting for 11% of India’s global trade. Bilateral trade between India and ASEAN stood at USD 122.67 billion during 2023-24. The upgradation of AITIGA is expected to further enhance bilateral trade and strengthen economic collaboration between India and ASEAN.

The next meeting, the 5th Joint Committee meeting, is scheduled to take place from July 29th to 31st, 2024, in Jakarta, Indonesia, continuing the dialogue towards a more robust and mutually beneficial trade agreement between India and ASEAN.

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