New Delhi: Free-trade agreement between India and 10-nation bloc Asean is expected to push the two-way trade to $100 billion (around Rs4.50 lakh crore) in the next five years, a study by industry body Ficci has said.
The trade pact, signed in August last year, has come in force with three countries (Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand) from 1 January, while it is expected to become operationalized with the remaining seven countries in the coming months.
Under the pact, duties are to be eliminated or reduced on about 4,000 items by 2016, covering 80% of India’s imports from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
The study sees a “huge enlargement of market access for Indian business that could well double the bilateral trade from the targeted level of $50 billion in 2010 to $100 billion in the next five years.”
Negotiations to expand the treaty to cover services and investments have also started. The pact on services would help Indian professionals and service providers to get greater market access in the region, Ficci said.
Asean region is a net importer of services and had imported nearly $180 billion worth of services in 2007.
“In view of this and India’s competitive advantages in terms of cost and expertise in a range of areas, puts India in a position where it would gain from the FTA,” it added.