Singapore businesses encouraged to trade with ASEAN and India

Photo by Monstera

The World Trade Centers Association® (WTCA®) sees significant opportunities for bilateral trade and business growth between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India, and encourages businesses in Singapore to leverage and optimize the potential and opportunities for increased investments between the two regions, fuelled by India’s vibrant industrial and technology sectors, and platforms such as the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA).

Entered into force in 2010, the AIFTA was designed to open up both the ASEAN and India markets by progressively reducing duties on goods. ASEAN and India recorded a bilateral trade volume of US$131.5 billion in 2022-2023, which accounted for 11.3 percent of India’s total global trade during the same period.

Vineet Verma, Managing Director of the World Trade Center businesses in Bengaluru, Chennai, and Kochi, and newly-appointed WTCA Board Member, explained that “AIFTA has helped reduce trade barriers between countries and improve the living standards of ASEAN and Indian communities.

“This cooperation focuses on sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, services, energy, technology, transportation, manufacturing, and many others.”

“On the investment side, India aims to be a global production hub, attracting many global companies to invest here. Therefore, WTCA is committed to strengthening this collaboration by harnessing the economic potential and industrial competitiveness in both regions,” added Verma.

At the 54th annual WTCA Global Business Forum (GBF) that was held in early March this year in Bengaluru, India, and hosted by WTC Bengaluru, the Honorable Minister for Large and Medium Industries, Infrastructure Development, Sri. M.B. Patil  said that Karnataka, the sixth-largest state in India, aims to become a US$1 trillion economy by 2032 by growing at a sustained growth rate of 18 per cent.

He added that the state would drive automation and develop AI-powered subscription products or services, through partnering with technology companies to leverage Industry 4.0 technologies. He furthermore disclosed plans for a new clean mobility policy that aims to position Karnataka as the premier destination for electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing.

At the GBF, multinational professional services network Deloitte also released its latest report on India as an investment destination, with a focus on Karnataka which has attracted significant foreign direct investments from multinational corporations in the technology sector, as well as other industries including biotechnology, aerospace and defence, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and tourism.

According to the report, India is home to the third-largest start-up hub in the world, after the US and the UK. India has 119,611 DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade)-recognised start-ups in 56 diverse industrial sectors, including IT services, healthcare and life sciences, education, professional and commercial services, agriculture, and food and beverages.

Singapore is among India’s largest trade and investment partners in ASEAN. With more than 300 members and networks in 100 countries including Singapore, WTCA invites Singapore business actors to take advantage of the increased trading and investment opportunities between these two regions.