Ensure more access to ASEAN markets: House Panel

A Parliamentary Standing Committee has asked the Commerce Department to ensure better access to Indian goods to the ASEAN region under the India-ASEAN FTA. In a report submitted to the Rajya Sabha, the Panel observed that several Indian goods are facing difficulties to get into the ASEAN region in contrast to the provisions of the agreement.

The India- ASEAN FTA that came into force in 2010, but is criticized as a misadventure, creating current account deficit for the country. Several ASEAN countries have excess production capacities, and this has adversely affected both production and investment in India.

The House Panel headed by Naresh Gujral observed that exports from India has not materialized despite sufficient access given to goods from ASEAN into the Indian market. Exports of items including steel have suffered from the deal. Several trade bodies also accuse that unfavorable clauses of the agreement have made India as a market for the ASEAN region without reciprocity.

The Parliamentary Committee’s report pointed out leather and pharmaceuticals as the items where India can request better access. Similarly, the committee also raised concern over the decline in farm exports under the agreement.