Easier cargo movement and Start-up collaboration prime for India-ASEAN relations: CII

rising logistics costs

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) ahead of the virtual India-ASEAN Summit on October 28, calls for expanding the scope of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement on priority to enable easier cargo movement, and suggested collaboration between start-ups from both sides in digital payments, e-commerce and cybersecurity apps among others.

The Indian industry body said that India’s pharmaceutical industry can become a key supplier of generic drugs, medical devices, and vaccines to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei, and Laos.

“A regional approach to energy security will help manage its supply and demand m crucial requirement of these high-growth economies,” CII said in its report titled ‘ASEAN-India: Identifying emerging opportunities together’.

India has already begun collaborating with a few ASEAN countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar in areas like renewable energy and refineries.

After the success of the CO-WIN app, India now aims to support other countries who may want to use CO-WIN or design a similar digital vaccination management system, according to the industry chamber.

ASEAN-India trade witnessed a decline of 9.2 percent in the last fiscal due to the pandemic and ASEAN’s trade expansion with the US and China. The decline in trade and India’s increasing trade deficit in the last few years have led to a call for a review of free trade agreements (FTA) with ASEAN, as India targets a better trade balance.

“The review will be aimed at issues such as removal of non-tariff measures, especially in the auto and agriculture sectors, and rules of origin,” CII said.

This is crucial as, since the FTA finalization, India’s imports from ASEAN continued to increase sharply, in comparison with exports. As a result, India’s trade deficit increased to $15.9 billion in the last fiscal from $4.9 billion in fiscal 2010-11.

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