New Delhi: The union commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu urged his Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) counterparts to examine the potential of high-growth sectors for investment in India’s Northeast region owing to its proximity to the tiger economies of Southeast Asia.
Referring to softening of the global economic growth, Prabhu pointed out how according to the recently published UN’s ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects Report’ both India and ASEAN were projected to outpace the global economy.
“This is indeed a manifestation of the new emerging world economic order. We must therefore collectively work towards shared prosperity,” the minister observed.
Pointing out how the government had identified IT & ITES and apparels as growth areas, he said, “Northeast with its natural resources has great potential for these (industries) as well as skill development.”
Prabhu was addressing the inaugural of the 4th India ASEAN Expo and Summit 2019, jointly organised by the industry chamber FICCI and Ministry of Commerce & Industry here.
The minister also spoke on how work was being carried out at a fast pace to improve connectivity between India and countries of the region. The manner in which India is trying to complete India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and fast track development of an India-Myanmar-Laos, Vietnam-Cambodia highway under the plan of action adopted in December 2012 under the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2016-2020) has been widely commended.
Addressing the demand by the trade ministers for concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this year, the minister said, “Whilst India is committed to implementation of RCEP, we would request ASEAN members to also review their trade agreements with India.” He hoped that both parties would jointly work in a determined manner to ensure its early conclusion.
Also speaking on the occasion, Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, secretary general, ASEAN averred that with the agencies such as IMF having downgraded the projections for global growth there was a greater need to enhance regional cooperation. “In such an environment, trade and investment will play an even greater role in strengthening demand in productivity to improve economic resilience,” he said.