ASEAN free trade pact: House panel calls for better access to Indian goods

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

Naresh Gujral, head of Parliamentary committee

Commerce Dept asked to put out a note on working of trade pact

The Department of Commerce should furnish a note on the assessment of the working of India-ASEAN trade in goods agreement and seek better market access for goods in order to have more balanced trade, a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce on ‘Trade with ASEAN countries’ has recommended.

The report, presented to the Rajya Sabha on Monday, by the Parliamentary Committee headed by Naresh Gujral, points out that a number of items including farm products, textiles, leather and steel have been adversely affected due to the provisions of the agreement.

The India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement came into force on January 1, 2010.

The report pointed out that better market access in terms of higher export has not materialised for India and this was a matter of concern.

“The Committee is of the view that if this approach or argument is subscribed, then there was no need for the trade agreement with ASEAN…..various trade instruments/agreements must aim towards better market access,” it said.

The Commerce Department may look into the cause of huge trade deficit with Indonesia and review the existing trade policy framework in respect of the country, the report said. Trade with CLMV countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) is also not at desired level, it added.

“The Committee desires that the Department may engage the ASEAN member States for giving better market access to Indian goods where we have an edge over them like leather goods and pharmaceuticals, so that trade balance improves,” it said.

Concern over farm exports

On the decline in exports of agriculture commodities to the ASEAN, the Committee said that it was a matter of concern and should be dealt with strictly.

“The Committee desires that value addition of primary agricultural products may be promoted and commodities enjoying comparative advantage in ASEAN countries may be identified and market access at zero duty may be sought for our farmers and agro-processors,” the report stated.

Stating that it finds disconcerting that the steel industry has been put to a disadvantage by the India ASEAN pact, report proposed that reciprocity in tariff reduction/elimination by ASEAN countries on Indian steel products should be ensured on account of broad and sweeping market access given by India.

The Committee also recommended that the Commerce Department should be vigilant over the safeguard measures imposed by the ASEAN countries on textile exports since it directly affected the country’s exports.

Published on December 18, 2017

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like