India-ASEAN FTA: The Road Ahead
   ·   01 Sep, 2009   ·   83    ·    Special Report

The FTA is India’s first with a trade bloc. India-ASEAN trade reached US$40 billion in 2007/2008 and the regional bloc is India’s fourth largest trade partner. The combined GDP of the 11 economies that constitute the FTA is US$2 trillion in GDP. The combined population is 1.6 billion, bearing in mind that India accounts for most of this population. The FTA will be effective from January 2010. The tariff liberalization schedule allows for a gradual phasing out of tariffs, which will be fully implemented by the end of 2013 and 2016 in respect of two normal tracks which have been identified for this FTA. There is a timeline for tariff reductions for items on the sensitive list. 489 items have been excluded from the list of tariff concessions, 590 items have been excluded from the list of tariff eliminations. These pertain, amongst others, to automobiles, certain auto parts, machinery, certain chemicals, agricultural products, food and textiles. Tariff cuts in terms of some sensitive items such as palm oil, tea, coffee and pepper will be graduated over a period of ten years and we will see a reduction in tariffs by 2019.

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