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India-ASEAN Trade Pact Undergoes Review for Modernization in February

India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are poised to commence negotiations in February aimed at modernizing their existing free trade agreement (FTA) and addressing the prevailing trade deficit, currently standing at $43.57 billion. The initiative seeks to revamp the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITGA) by 2025.

Key Focus Areas

The negotiations will primarily concentrate on the introduction of product-specific rules and trade remedies, with the overarching goal of enhancing the efficiency of the FTA. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive overhaul, the discussions will delve into critical aspects such as the Rules of Origin (ROO) and the integration of a dedicated chapter on trade remedies to safeguard domestic industries.

Exclusions from the Agreement

While the endeavor is geared towards comprehensive improvements, certain areas are likely to be excluded from the agreement. Notably, considerations such as labor, environment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and gender are expected to be sidelined in the negotiations.

India’s Perspective

India’s push for a review stems from the perceived imbalance in the current AITGA, which has favored ASEAN disproportionately. The upcoming negotiations are an essential step for India to address these concerns and ensure a more equitable distribution of benefits.

Timeline and Roadmap

The negotiation process is slated to kick off with the first round in February, with a targeted completion by 2025. The timeline underscores the commitment to efficiently reshape the AITGA, making it a more dynamic and responsive instrument in the realm of India-ASEAN trade relations.

Questions Related to Exams

Q: What is the primary objective of the India-ASEAN negotiations in February?

A: The primary goal is to modernize their free trade agreement (FTA) and address the existing $43.57 billion trade deficit.

Q: What is the timeline for the revamping of the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITGA)?

A: The negotiations are set to begin in February, with the aim of completing the modernization of AITGA by 2025.

Q: What specific areas will be the focus of the negotiations?

A: The discussions will concentrate on introducing product-specific rules and trade remedies to enhance the efficiency of the FTA.

Q: What aspects are likely to be excluded from the agreement during the negotiations?

A: Areas such as labor, environment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and gender are expected to be excluded from the agreement.

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