ASEAN ECONOMIC MINISTERS MEETING
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- The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry along with the 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 attended the meeting.
Key Highlights of the Meeting
- During the meeting, the Ministers highlighted that trade and economic relations between ASEAN and India are recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Trade between ASEAN and India reached USD 91.5 billion in 2021 increasing by 39.2% as compared to 2020.
- ASEAN India Business Council (AIBC) recommended enhancing the ASEAN India economic partnership.
- AIBC is an organization established by the Governments of ASEAN and India in 2005 to facilitate closer business linkages and deepening of economic linkages between ASEAN and India.
- The Ministers made commitments to take collective actions to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic and work toward a sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery.
- The Ministers appreciated the launching of the 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.
- Indian representative briefed 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.
- The Indian Minister has also shared information on the steps taken by India in liberalizing and simplifying its FDI policy.
- The Minister invited ASEAN countries to invest in India and become partners in its success.
- The ASEAN Ministers welcomed the successful outcomes of the 12th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference held in June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland and ensure their support for a rules-based, non-discriminatory, open, fair, inclusive, equitable, and transparent multilateral trading system, as embodied in the WTO.
- The Ministers advocated 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.
- Indian representative has reiterated India’s commitment to supporting a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN and also promoting sustainable trade which balances the aspirations of both the partners.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- In 1967, the leaders of 5 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand signed a document in Bangkok, Thailand to establish the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
- At Present ASEAN comprises 10 Countries: Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam
- ASEAN is a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia, which promotes inter-governmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and socio-cultural integration between its members and countries in the Asia-Pacific.
- The aims and purpose of the ASEAN are to ensure cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, technical, educational and other fields, and promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.
- The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
- ASEAN is 3rd the largest market in the world, larger than the EU and North American markets.
- It is the 6th largest economy in the world and 3rd in Asia.
- ASEAN Secretariat is in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
- In 2006, ASEAN was given observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.
Achievements of ASEAN
- Southeast Asia presents a diverse and complex region where every major culture and civilization of the world lives together peacefully.
- ASEAN acts as a platform to resolve disputes among member nations.
- Several Regional multilateral platforms were created such as the Annual Ministerial Meeting (AMM), and Asia-Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) to engage ASEAN with its dialogue partners. These initiatives helped ASEAN to maintain stable relations with the great powers in Asia.
- ASEAN played an important role in promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region.
- India began formal engagement with ASEAN in 1992 as a “Sectoral Dialogue Partner” (and subsequently as a “Dialogue Partner” in 1996.
- At the 20th Commemorative Summit Meeting in New Delhi (December 2012) India’s Dialogue Partnership was further elevated to a Strategic Partnership.
- During the 25th Commemorative Summit in New Delhi (January 2018), India and ASEAN further agreed that our Strategic Partnership will be focused on building cooperation in the maritime domain.
- The year 2022 marks 30 years of ASEAN-India relations and it has been designated as ASEAN-India Friendship Year by the leaders in October 2021.
- Engagement with ASEAN is a multi-level interaction process. At the apex is the annual summits (“ASEAN-India Summit”) supported by meetings at the Foreign Minister level (“ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting”-AIFMM.
- To support cooperation activities between ASEAN and India, Govt of India has created three funds:
- ASEAN-India Cooperation Fund (AIF),
- ASEAN-India Green Fund (AIGF) and
- ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund (AISTDF).
- The ‘Delhi Dialogue’ (DD) mechanism hosted by India annually allows the participation of think tanks, academics and prominent civil society persons from both India and the ASEAN region, in addition to government representatives, to contribute ideas and perspectives to furthering the India-ASEAN strategic partnership.
- The eсоnоmiс аnd investment relаtiоnshiр between Indiа аnd АSEАN hаs been рrоgressively improving, with АSEАN nоw being Indiа’s fоurth-lаrgest trading раrtner.
- АSEАN-Indiа соnneсtivity is а рriоrity fоr India аs аlsо the АSEАN соuntries. In 2013, Indiа beсаme the third diаlоgue раrtner оf АSEАN tо initiаte аn АSEАN Соnneсtivity Сооrdinаting Соmmittee-Indiа
- Indiа hаs mаde соnsiderаble рrоgress in imрlementing the Indiа-Myаnmаr-Thаilаnd Trilаterаl Highwаy аnd the Kаlаdаn Multimоdаl Рrоjeсt, issues relаted tо inсreаsing the mаritime аnd аir соnneсtivity between АSEАN аnd Indiа аnd trаnsfоrming the соrridоrs оf соnneсtivity intо eсоnоmiс соrridоrs аre under disсussiоn.
- Indiа and АSEАN are working together on several рrоjeсts in the аreаs оf аgriсulture, sсienсe аnd teсhnоlоgy, sрасe, envirоnment аnd сlimаte сhаnge, humаn resоurсe develорment, сарасity building, new аnd renewаble energy, tourism, рeорle-tо-рeорle соnneсtiоns аnd соnneсtivity, аnd sо оn.