India-Asean free trade pact to give infra boost

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: May 16 2011, 06:47am hrs
India-Asean free trade agreement is likely to open up a host of business opportunities and projects especially in construction work.

According to a Ficci-Deloitte white paper on India-Asean Free Trade Agreement, corporate India could seriously look at opportunities in construction of agricultural buildings, bridges, canal construction, concrete work, roads and highways, school buildings, sports facilities and water-treatment plants.

The paper notes that Asean countries would also provide considerable opportunities in following industry/services categories like, machinery, equipment, appliances apparatus and associated products, office equipment, computers and supplies, instruments and appliances, industrial process control equipment, optical instruments, and horological instruments.

Also emerging areas like pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, telecommunication, radio, television and communication equipment and related apparatus might a find greater market.

The FTA was signed in Bangkok on August 13, 2009, and came into effect from January 1, 2011 with Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. It is expected to be in place with all member countries by 2016. The FTA collectively covers a market of nearly 1.8 billion people and proposes to gradually slash tariffs for over 4,000 product lines. Currently the FTA is restricted to trade in goods while negotiations for a similar agreement for services are currently under way.

The paper pinpoints the Indian and Asean industries that enjoy greater competitive advantage vis-a-vis their counterparts in each others country. Indian industries like, chemicals, medical, pharmaceuticals, textiles, apparels, handicrafts, carpets will enjoy a greater competitive advantage relative to their counterparts in the Asean countries.