India and ASEAN signed a free trade agreement ("FTA") on Thursday Aug 13 after more than six years of negotiations, but the deal did not embrace software and information technology.
Thai and Indian officials said the agreement would eliminate tariffs on products including electronics, chemicals, machinery and textiles that account for more than 80 percent of total trade in goods between the two sides.
The agreement will be effective from Jan. 1, 2010, and tariffs on the products covered would be reduced to zero between 2013 and 2016, according to a joint statement.
ASEAN is India’s fourth-largest trading partner after the European Union, the United States and China. Two-way trade between India and ASEAN was $47 billion in 2008, the statement said.
Asean have FTA with China, Korea, Japan and Australia/New Zealand. With the FTA with India, Asean will play more important role as economic hub than ever in Asia Pacific region.