Phuket (Thailand): Negotiations on the trade opening India-ASEAN agreement have been concluded and New Delhi is set to play an enhanced role in South East Asian economies, along with the 10-nation bloc, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said on Wednesday.
While Krishna did not indicate the date of signing the
FTA, known as Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement
with the Association of South East Asian Nations, he said
"perhaps we can look forward to a very meaningful development
when the Summit (India-ASEAN) takes place in October in
He said India has a big supporting role in the South
East Asian region. "We would not like to lead the movement but
support South East Asian governments...and enhance bilateral
and multilateral engagement with them," Krishna said.
Krishna is here attending the India-ASEAN-East Asia
Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial Meeting.
He said in the first stage, the CECA would include
liberalising of trade in goods. Negotiations on opening of
services trade would start later.
India has been negotiating CECA with ASEAN for the last
three years. Differences on the level of protection sought by
India for plantation items like crude palm oil and coffee, had
led to delays in completion of talks.
The pact is likely to give a boost to USD 39 billion
dollar India-ASEAN trade.