At a time when India is troubled by economic slowdown and decreasing pace of exports, it has got a big success on the global front. India has convinced ASEAN, a 10-member membership body, to review the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). ASEAN countries have agreed to make it more favorable to India. Critics were calling the deal absolutely one sided.
Significantly, under the leadership of PM Modi, India was constantly trying to change the terms of the FTA with ASEAN. In fact, there is no clause in the current draft to review or exit the agreement. According to the assessment, after India’s free trade agreement with ASEAN countries, trade deficit from these countries of India has increased by 250 percent. The FTA between India and ASEAN was implemented during the UPA regime in January 2010.
A recent study by NITI Aayog has stated that India’s trade deficit with ASEAN countries doubled between 2011 and 2017 to reach $ 10 billion. In 2011, it was 5 billion dollars. In comparison, ASEAN’s preliminary figures suggest that ASEAN’s bilateral trade with India increased 9.8 percent to reach $ 80.8 billion in 2018.
A study released in July by industry body Assocham warned, “India’s exports to ASEAN countries increased from $ 10.41 billion in 2005-06 to $ 25.20 billion in 2015-16, but imports during this period were four The fold has increased to $ 39.84 billion.
A joint statement issued during the AEM-India consultation between the Finance Ministers of ASEAN countries and India held this week in Bangkok said, ‘Ministers have been asked to work on the details of how the review should be done. And submit an update about it in the next AEM-India consultation.
Interestingly, its ancillary organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Swadeshi Jagran Manch have been pressing for a long time to change the agreement which makes the way for Indian exporters difficult, while making imports in India easier. is.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan told Aaj Tak-India Today, ‘During the memorandum to the central government and discussions with BJP leaders, we have always insisted that the FTA made by the UPA government is an absolutely unequal agreement. Never in any international agreement has there been a clause to review it. This is very unfortunate. Therefore, we welcome the joint statement of the 16th AEM Meet. ‘