Rs. 2,35,290 cr. worth of busi­ness pro­pos­als gen­er­ated at Ben­gal Global Busi­ness Sum­mit 2017

FICCI Business Digest - - News - Dato Ramesh Ko­dammal Co-Chair ASEAN–India Busi­ness Coun­cil

This year is the 25th an­niver­sary of ASEAN-India re­la­tions. Many com­mem­o­ra­tive events have been out­lined by ASEAN and India to cel­e­brate the es­tab­lish­ment of the for­mal di­a­logue mech­a­nism be­tween ASEAN and India.

Over the years the gov­ern­ments of ASEAN and India have taken con­crete mea­sures to strengthen eco­nomic re­la­tions, es­pe­cially the es­tab­lish­ment of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area. The gov­ern­ments must be com­mended for the pos­i­tive ac­tions taken to strengthen eco­nomic ties.

De­spite the ASEAN-India FTA and high growth rates posted by ASEAN and India, trade and in­vest­ment flows be­tween ASEAN and India re­main mod­est. Bi­lat­eral trade av­er­aged US$67.96 bil­lion over the pe­riod 2011-2015. Analysis of data from the ASEAN Sec­re­tariat in­di­cates that ASEAN-India trade is on the de­clin­ing path. Trade has been de­creas­ing from 2012. Trade de­clined from US$73.1 bil­lion to US$71.82 bil­lion in 2012, and sub­se­quently to US$67.86 bil­lion (2013), US$67.71 Bil­lion (2014) and US$58.74 bil­lion in 2015. The 2015 fig­ure is only 59% of the tar­get of US$100 bil­lion set by the lead­ers.

In­vest­ment flows from India to ASEAN av­er­aged US$1,254 mil­lion per an­num over the pe­riod 20102015. This amount is rather small com­pared to in­vest­ment by Ja­pan, the U.S., China and other di­a­logue part­ners of ASEAN.

The global eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion re­mains volatile. The Trade and De­vel­op­ment Re­port 2016 by UNCTAD in­di­cate that global out­put is ex­pected to reg­is­ter growth rate of 2.3% in 2016. The growth fore­cast for 2017 also re­mains sub­dued. In the global con­text, many Asian coun­tries are ex­pected to per­form bet­ter over the next few years. ASEAN as a group is ex­pected to grow by an av­er­age of 5.1% over the next 5 years (2017-2021) while India is also fore­cast to grow at an av­er­age of 7.3%. Growth will be driven by con­sump­tion and in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment. In­deed, some of the ASEAN Mem­ber States are fore­cast to grow over 6% in the next 5 years.

It is now an op­por­tune time for the pri­vate sec­tor through the ASEAN-India Busi­ness Coun­cil (AIBC) to take the lead in rais­ing the level of trade and in­vest­ment flows. The AIBC has been or­ga­niz­ing reg­u­lar busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties to en­hance net­work­ing be­tween the busi­nesses in India and ASEAN. Both ASEAN and India are among the fastest grow­ing re­gions in the world.

India with its eco­nomic re­forms and out­ward look­ing eco­nomic poli­cies of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties to ASEAN busi­ness com­mu­nity to in­vest and man­u­fac­ture for the huge do­mes­tic mar­ket as well as for mar­kets in ASEAN and other parts of the world. Like­wise, ASEAN of­fers In­dian busi­ness com­mu­nity huge and barrier free mar­ket of over 620 mil­lion peo­ple. In­dian in­vestors can also tap on ASEAN's ac­cess to many mar­kets in the re­gion through the ASEAN

The bright side to the chal­lenge of skill de­vel­op­ment is that the gov­ern­ment rec­og­nizes India's favourable de­mo­graphic div­i­dend and is shoul­der­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment to mil­lions of youth in a big way.

free trade agree­ments (FTAs). To date, ASEAN has FTAs with China, Ja­pan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. ASEAN's global trade per an­num is over US$2.5 bil­lion, and 50% of it ac­counts for im­ports into ASEAN. It is a very com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

This year to com­mem­o­rate the 25th An­niver­sary, AIBC in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Fed­er­a­tion of the In­dian Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (FICCI) and other sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tions is or­ga­niz­ing the ASEAN - India BizTech Expo with the Theme “Bridg­ing Bor­ders Through Busi­ness” from 24-25 May 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur Con­ven­tion Cen­tre KLCC), Malaysia.

There are three main com­po­nents to the BIZTECH Expo & Con­fer­ence as fol­lows: Ex­hi­bi­tion; Con­fer­ence; and ASEAN-India Achieve­ment and Excellence Awards. The Ex­hi­bi­tion will cover high tech in­dus­tries such as ICT, IoT, smart ma­chines, cus­tomer dig­i­tal as­sis­tance, au­to­mo­tive and aero­nau­ti­cal, biotech and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal. Par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pa­nies will be from Malaysia, ASEAN, India and other ASEAN Di­a­logue Part­ner coun­tries. Prom­i­nent speak­ers and pan­elists from around the re­gion will be ad­dress­ing the Con­fer­ence. A ma­jor high­light of the BIZTECH Expo & Con­fer­ence is the ASEANIn­dia Achieve­ment and Excellence Awards.

AIBC has also now es­tab­lished a for­mal di­a­logue mech­a­nism with the ASEAN Eco­nomic Min­is­ters – India Con­sul­ta­tions which is held an­nu­ally around Au­gust or Septem­ber of each year to rep­re­sent the in­ter­est of the busi­nesses to the joint ASEANIn­dia min­is­te­rial body. At the last con­sul­ta­tions, AIBC had pro­vided sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions to strengthen eco­nomic re­la­tions for the con­sid­er­a­tion of the min­is­ters. AIBC will con­tinue to dis­sem­i­nate in­for­ma­tion on ASEAN and India to the busi­ness com­mu­nity.

As the ASEAN Co-Chair of AIBC, I wel­come com­pa­nies and busi­nesses to par­tic­i­pate in the ASEAN-India BizTech Expo and Con­fer­ence. It pro­vides a good plat­form for busi­nesses from both ASEAN and India to meet and net­work to form strate­gic al­liances to grow their busi­ness in India and ASEAN. I am con­fi­dent through these pri­vate sec­tor link­ages and im­proved air con­nec­tiv­ity, trade and in­vest­ment flows can be fur­ther en­hanced be­tween ASEAN and India.

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