Smt. Anupriya Patel, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry along with H.E. Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, Kingdom of Cambodia co-chaired the 19th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers’ meeting held on 16th September 2022 in Siem Reap City, Cambodia. The Economic Ministers or their representatives from all the 10 ASEAN countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam attended the meeting.
The Ministers noted that trade and economic relations between ASEAN and India are starting to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the two-way trade between ASEAN and India reached USD 91.5 billion in 2021 increasing by 39.2 per cent year-on-year. The Ministers also took note of the recommendations made by ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC) to enhance the ASEAN India economic partnership and the activities undertaken by AIBC in 2022.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take collective actions to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic and work towards a sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery. The Ministers welcomed ASEAN and India to forge collective actions in securing a robust supply chain connectivity to maintain the flow of essential goods and services through the launching of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) Upgrade Negotiations, mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccination, vaccines production, public health surveillance, and medical technologies in moving forward with the post-pandemic recovery responses and facing future health crises.
Smt. Anupriya Patel briefed the meeting about the progress made by India in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic with its current focus on vaccinating all eligible citizens and the major milestone of administration of 2 billion vaccine doses including booster doses achieved in July 2022, 18 months after the vaccination scheme started in January 2021. She also shared information on the steps taken by India in liberalising and simplifying its FDI policy resulting in the ever-increasing volumes of FDI inflows, setting new records. She invited ASEAN countries to invest in India and be partners in its success.
The Ministers welcomed the successful outcomes of the Twelfth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference held on 12-17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland and reiterated their support for a rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, fair, inclusive, equitable, and transparent multilateral trading system, as embodied in the WTO.
In a significant development, the Ministers endorsed the Scope of the Review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple, and trade facilitative for businesses, as well as responsive to the current global and regional challenges including supply chain disruptions. The Ministers also activated the AITIGA Joint Committee to undertake the review of AITIGA expeditiously.
Smt. Anupriya Patel reiterated India’s commitment to supporting a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN and also to equitable and sustainable trade which balances the aspirations of both the partners.