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India Strikes Free Trade Agreement With ASEAN

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

17 November 2008


Trade between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to grow in light of the news that agreement has been reached on the implementation of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two parties.

Union Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh, confirmed that the agreement will go ahead before the end of the year, with the signing taking place in Bangkok on December 17.

The FTA - which centres on reducing tariffs related to the import and export of goods - is aimed at boosting trade between India and 10 members of the ASEAN (Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar and Cambodia), and will, in time, evolve to allow tariff exemptions on some services as well.

Under the rules of the FTA, India will significantly reduce import duties on tea and coffee by 50%, and tariffs on pepper by 20%, over the next ten years.

As part of its plan to improve trade relations with the rest of Asia, Indian officials simultaneously announced that they have succeeded in concluding a long-running battle to set up an FTA with South Korea.


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