India to reconsider zero tariff concessions on mobile phone imports at ASEAN trade deal talks

New Delhi, July 10 (KNN) In a significant development, India is set to re-evaluate the zero tariff concessions granted to mobile phone imports during the upcoming review of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The talks, scheduled for July 29-31 in Jakarta, Indonesia, are aimed at modernizing the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), which was signed a decade ago.

A high-level delegation headed by Rajesh Aggarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, is representing India in the talks.

Sources close to the matter, on condition of anonymity, revealed that India intends to conclude the deal before the end of the calendar year.

The review will focus on tariff concessions for ASEAN countries, particularly Vietnam, which currently allow zero-duty imports of mobile phone components.

The move is seen as a potential move to protect India’s domestic industries and foster growth.

ATIGA, signed in 2009 and implemented in 2010-2011, proposed tariff elimination for 74.2 percent of tariffs and reductions for an additional 14.2 percent. No concession is available for the remaining 11.6 per cent tariff.

Although trade between India and ASEAN has grown significantly since the signing of the agreement, it has largely benefited the ASEAN region.

Between fiscal years 2009 and 2023, India’s exports to ASEAN grew by 130.4 percent, while imports grew by 234.4 percent.

India’s trade with ASEAN is primarily concentrated in five countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Current trade dynamics show that more than 50 percent of India’s imports from ASEAN consist of coal, palm oil and other raw materials.

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Conversely, India’s exports to the region include refined petroleum products, commercial vehicles, telecommunication equipment and various agricultural and industrial products.

Unlike the EU, ASEAN allows each member country to set its own tariffs under FTAs. However, India has offered a single tariff schedule applicable to all ASEAN members in these negotiations. Some experts argue that this approach may limit the effectiveness of India’s exclusion list.

(KNN Bureau)


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