The Indian Cabinet approved a free trade agreement (FTA) in trade and services with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on December 19.

The agreement is part of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CECA) between ASEAN and India that was signed in 2003.

India signed a FTA in commodities with ASEAN in July 2009.

India’s exports to ASEAN reached 32 billion USD, a 10.2 percent drop compared to previous time in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Lower taxes in the bloc’s member nations have improved ASEAN enterprises’ competitiveness over Indian enterprises in two-way trade, however the FTA agreement in trade and services is expected to help India increase Indian experts to work in ASEAN countries, and promote and increase foreign investment flows into the country.

Trade turnover between India and ASEAN surpassed 70 billion USD in 2012 and it expected to achieve the target of 100 billion USD by 2015.-VNA