ASEAN-India Free Trade Area Part III: Cambodia, Brunei, Laos and the Philippines
By Alex Tangkilisan
Feb. 27 – In the third part of our ASEAN-India Free Trade Area analysis, we will examine trade trends and statistics from India to Cambodia, Brunei, Laos and the Philippines.
While the Philippines is part of the ASEAN six majors, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos are the three smallest economies in the region. Together, these four countries combine for a GDP of US$258.30 billion, a population of 115.85 million and exports to India amounting to US$1.33 billion (or, about 0.27 percent of India’s total imports).
India-Cambodia relations picked up in 1981 when India officially recognized Cambodia’s new government and opened up an embassy in Phnom Penh. In contemporary times, there has been an effort to expand their cooperation through institutional capacity building, human resource development, infrastructure development and security and defense. Furthermore, India and Cambodia have enhanced bilateral cooperation through increased interactions at regional and international forums.
Positive relations were built upon during the first India-Cambodia Trade and Investment Business Forum, Exhibition and Buyer/Seller Meet in 2009, which sought to enhance economic engagement between the two countries. India extended duty free tariff preference schemes to Cambodia that same year. Indian businesspeople in Cambodia have also established an Indian Chamber of Commerce to promote bilateral trade and investment ties.
India and Cambodia ties were further bolstered in 2011 when they held the first round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOC). These consultation were in regard to trade and bilateral cooperation, with a focus on policy, economy, security, education and vocational training, culture, IT and agriculture.
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