Both sides endorse the texts of the Trade in Services and Investment agreements

India and ASEAN on Wednesday decided to set a target of $100 billion turnover for the bilateral trade by 2015 between the two entities and reviewed the completion of legal scrubbing of India-ASEAN agreements on Trade in Services and Investment.

During the meeting with the ASEAN countries Ministers at Brunei, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma informed the Ministers about the steps taken by India for elevating its relationship ASEAN to a strategic partnership. Both sides also endorsed the texts of the Trade and Services and Investment agreements for the required steps to be taken by the participating countries for implementing the Agreements. This step marks the completion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement process between India and ASEAN.

Mr. Sharma said India had launched the ASEAN-India Centre in New Delhi and the proposed ASEAN-India Trade and Investment Centre. A concept note prepared by India on the ASEAN-India Trade and Investment Centre was also circulated seeking comments of the ASEAN side.

Mr. Sharma mentioned about the initiative taken by India in completing the first phase of the trilateral highway connecting India with Thailand through Myanmar. In this regard, Mr. Sharma called for strengthening of soft connectivity between the two sides and proposed constitution of Joint Working Groups. The group could discuss issues concerning operationalising physical connectivity including cooperation in transport, customs and other related departments to facilitate flow of goods and services between the two sides.

He urged the ASEAN Ministers to see the bigger picture of regional integration and the role that ASEAN and India together are going to play in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) being negotiated. The meeting ended with the two sides reaffirming their commitment towards achieving the target of $100 billion bilateral trade by the year 2015.

In a separate meeting with US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, the Commerce and Industry Minister informed USTR about the positive investment climate and sought greater US participation in manufacturing and R&D sectors.

Both sides discussed the future roadmap for the Doha Development Agreement negotiations for successful conclusion.