Barriers that impede India-ASEAN trade must be removed: Sitharaman

India and ASEAN trade is increased to $71.69 billion in 2016-17 from $30.09 billion in 2007-08.

The Dollar Business Bureau 

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that if India and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries were to recognize their full potential for business then they need to fast-track the ‘corridors of connectivity’ to ‘corridors of trade’.

“Barriers that impede trade must be removed besides enhanced utilization of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” she said while speaking at the ASEAN-India Expo and Forum, being held in Bangkok from August 2-5.

Sitharaman said that for trade promotion, the introduction of non-tariff measures such as facilitating customs and operation procedures have to go a long way to ensure smooth movement of goods and services between the partner nations.

The Minister termed Act East policy of India as “the pillar of its foreign policy”, and added that ASEAN was the fourth largest trading partner of India.

“ASEAN presents considerable opportunities for development and trade. The trade between India and ASEAN is increased to $71.69 billion in 2016-17 from $30.09 billion in 2007-08,” she said.

Speaking at the Forum, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said, “South East Asia and India are part of the world's important economic mechanism. If we work together, we will gain bargaining power and become a major market with an immense power to drive the economy forward.”

The ASEAN-India Expo & Forum 2017 is organized to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India ties and witnessed a participation from over 200 companies and government officials.