SINGAPORE: Singapore and India are working on a regional comprehensive economic partnership covering the 10-member ASEAN plus six major Asian markets of Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, Singapore and India.
"We are working with India on the regional comprehensive economic partnership that involves ASEAN plus the six other countries - Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, Singapore and India," the city state's Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said today.
"This is a huge regional FTA (Free Trade Agreement) which will integrate all of us and give India a concrete platform in its 'Look East' policy," said Lim at the India Infrastructure Forumheld here.
Elaborating on the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), Lim said Singapore would want to play a pacesetter role in India-ASEAN relationships.
"The other area we think is very useful is for Singapore to be a kind of pacesetter for India in its relations with ASEAN," he said.
Commenting on CECA, Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nathsaid the bilateral trade pact was set for further expansion.
"Obviously there is huge potential and still much of it has to be unleashed. In the next couple of years we will be able to unleashed more of what is already there," he said after addressing the forum.
Touching on the CECA review, Nath said: "Obviously you keep adding on to all trade agreements. Let's consolidate this and then let's look adding on." The CECA has also boosted performances of Indian businesses in Singapore.
Today, India is ASEAN's number sixth trading partner. "I think there is tremendous potential for us to leverage the partnership between India and ASEAN. And Singapore can set the pace in that regional partnership," said Lim.
Bilateral trade has grown to USD 21.36 billion in 2012-2013 from USD 8.78 billion in 2005-06, according to India's Commerce Ministry statistics.