India’s Trade Relationship with South East Asia Region

Imports from this region registered an increase of about 15%, while exports declined by about 14% during 1997-98. Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Australia and Vietnam were our major export destinations in the region, whereas for imports, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia continued to be the forerunners.

During April-August 1998, India’s trade with the countries in the region at US $3,281.47 million was less by 0.20% of the trade at US $3,287.95 million during the corresponding period in the previous year.

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While India’s exports at US $768.24 million during April-August 1998 to the countries in the region have gone down by 40%, imports have registered a growth of 25.9%.

The principal commodities for export to this region during the period 1997-98 include oil meals, cotton/fabrics, made-ups, machinery, and instruments, primary and semi-finished iron and steel, drugs and pharmaceuticals, meat, etc.

The major commodities imported from this region were coal/coke/ briquettes, vegetable oils, electronic goods, organic chemicals, machinery except electrical machinery, wood and wooden products, non-ferrous metals, raw wool, pulses, wheat, electrical machinery etc.

In consonance with India’s ‘Look East Policy’ and after having become a full dialogue partner with ASEAN, ASEAN-India Working Group on Trade and Investment (ASEAN-India WGTI) has been established under the aegis of the ASEAN-India Joint Cooperation Committee to give a major fillip to India’s relationship with ASEAN in trade and investment, which are major areas of focused cooperation with ASEAN.

The first meeting of the ASEAN- India WGTI was inaugurated by the Commerce Secretary and attended by 25 delegates from 9 ASEAN countries.

The meeting acknowledged the need for enhancing the interaction between the private sectors on both the sides and evolving ways and means for information exchange by involving private sectors. The ASEAN also recognised the need for enhancing cooperation in core infrastructure projects in India.

There has been a regular exchange of business delegation with countries in this region, as also in participation in trade fairs of mutual interest.

The Embassy of India, Hanoi had organised the ‘Pride of India’ Exhibition in Hanoi from 14-17 January, 1998, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.

The exhibition which had about 30 participants from both public and private sectors in India was well-received by the Vietnamese business community as well as government circles. To sustain the success of the first exhibition, the second ‘Pride of India’ was also held at Vietnam from 23-26 October, 1998.

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