NEW DELHI (TIP): Inaugurating the 2nd India- ASEAN Business Fair- 2012 in New Delhi today, the Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma expressed confidence that the two-way trade between India and the ASEAN countries “will be able to reach USD 100 billion mark by 2015”. He also added that the early operationalisation of the Services and Investment Agreement would provide greater impetus to the trade and investment flows. Welcoming the Trade Minister from the ASEAN countries, Shri Sharma urged the Trade Ministers that they should diversify the trade basket and that the economic gains on both sides would be substantial only if we develop supply chains with a focus on intra-industry trade.
He also said that in order to realise the true potential of the economies, we should give a concerted push to strengthen the regional connectivity with ASEAN. Shri Sharma said that India views its partnership with ASEAN as a crucial block in sustaining the growth momentum. “We would like to benefit from ASEAN experience in key sectors of economy such as infrastructure, agro-processing, retail and value added manufacturing. Equally, Indian companies can be invaluable partners for ASEAN economies in augmenting their productivity,” said Shri Sharma.
Speaking on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Shri Sharma said that the negotiations would be a momentous step. “The fruition of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which will have in its embrace ASEAN and the six countries including India, China, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Japan and Australia, will truly have a defining influence on the global economic architecture,” Shri Sharma further added. Later addressing media persons, Shri Sharma said that the FTA negotiations on Services and Investment would be concluded by tomorrow when ASEAN Ministerial will take place after the formal negotiations. “The senior officers have been meeting and we the Ministers have given them a very clear message and mandate at the recent ASEAN-India summit at Phnom Penh in Cambodia and senior officials and negotiators thereafter met in Jakarta… So the final round of negotiations is taking place between the senior officers of India, the Chief negotiator and his team and the ASEAN officials, and they will be formally reporting to the Ministerial meeting tomorrow. And the Ministers are committed. I can say for all of us to bring this negotiations to closure and carry on with our journey of partnership, added Shri Sharma.