The ASEAN-India Business Council on February 25 launched an online business portal to smooth the path of trade between Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and India.

The portal is expected to help trade partners complete an array of trade transactions easily and speedily, and enable users to gather a comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date source of regulatory information from different countries.

Bilateral trade between ASEAN and India is forecast to hit 100 billion USD by 2015, Secretary General of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria said at the launch ceremony.

She describes the portal as a useful step towards improving trade facilitation as it will create an enabling environment to harmonise and simplify procedures for cross-border transactions.

“This innovation will further reduce delays and enhance the goal of fast clearance at ports,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Kodammal, the council’s co-chairman, highlighted that the core functionality of the portal is to provide the business community full, timely, and up-to-date information on trade, goods, and services via a single portal.

He said the portal will serve as an information highway to businesses hoping to reach a combined market strength of 1.9 billion people, adding that it will help the council revitalise to move forward and strengthen bilateral trade between ASEAN and India.

The portal will also be enhanced to serve as a business-matching platform for all businesses, especially small-and-medium ones, which comprise around 95 percent of firms in these countries.-VNA