Asean Agreement With India
India and ASEAN signed the 2009 ASEAN Merchandise Trade Agreement (AITIG), paving the way for the creation of one of the world`s largest free trade zones and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement. AITIG provides for a gradual reduction in tariffs and/or the elimination of products from asean and India. Since the early 2000s, India has had a growing trade deficit with ASEAN, with imports exceeding exports by more than $6 billion in 2007-08.  There are concerns that gradual liberalization of tariffs and increased imports to India could threaten several economic sectors, including the plantation sector, some processing industries and the maritime industry.  As a dominant exporter of light industrial products, ASEAN has competitive tariffs that prevent India from accessing the industrial market in ASEAN countries.  „Of 21 sectors, the overall trade balance deteriorated in 10 to 13 sectors (reducing surpluses or increasing the deficit). Only the places where we have done better are ceramics, cement, paper, animal goods, etc. Only 10% of lines are excluded… Wanting to catch up with other countries in Thailand or Myanmar,“ he said. After conducting its own internal scoping exercise, ASEAN wrote a letter to India in 2015, stating that it was not prepared to make the pact a „modern generation“ pact with better coverage and stricter rules of origin. „Since then, ASEAN has been following the review relentlessly.“ Before the signing of the agreement, Kerala`s Chief Minister, V.S. Achuthanandan, led a delegation to the Indian Prime Minister to protest against the free trade agreement. The state of Kerala is a major exporter of domestic exports of plantation products.
It is concerned that cheap imports of rubber, coffee and fish will reduce local production and ultimately harm farmers and their economies.  Kerala has already experienced a flood of its market with cheap imports under the 2006 South Asia Free Trade Agreement. Cheap coconuts from Sri Lanka and palm oil from Malaysia have since hampered the cultivation of Kerala coconut.  After the virtual meeting of the ASEAN-India Economy Ministers last month, at which the decision to review the goods trade agreement was reiterated, India followed up to underline its urgency by writing to ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi, Minister of Trade, Anup Wadhawan. As part of its initial bilateral framework agreement, signed in Bali on 8 October 2003, the india-ASEAN free trade agreement for goods was to be concluded by 30 June 2005. Negotiations on services will begin in 2005 and end in 2007. It went on to say that „subject to the outcome of the scoping exercise,“ the ASEAN-India Joint Committee will be activated for the effective revision of the agreement.