ASEAN offers opportunities with Singapore as gateway

By Gautam Khurana, India Law Offices and Aloysius Wee, Aquinas Law Alliance
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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprises 10 countries, namely, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Laos, Brunei, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. With total GDP estimated at US$2.55 trillion in 2016, it would rank sixth in the world if it were a single country, according to the IMF. ASEAN and each of its members present diverse opportunities for investment and trade cooperation.

Gautam KhuranaManaging partnerIndia Law Offices
Gautam Khurana
Managing partner
India Law Offices

India and ASEAN countries have commercial links that go back centuries. Today ASEAN is India’s fourth-largest trading partner, with annual trade in 2015-16 at US$65.04 billion. Meanwhile, statistics from India’s Ministry of External Affairs show that ASEAN has accounted for approximately 12.5% of investment flows into India since 2000. The ASEAN-India Free Trade Area has been in operation since 1 July 2015. This year, ASEAN and India celebrate the 25th anniversary of their dialogue partnership and 15 years of summit-level interaction with a wide range of activities.

Indeed, trade between India and ASEAN can be expected to increase. The ASEAN countries formed the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) on 31 December 2015. It is still early days for the AEC, which was set up to promote trade and commerce both within the AEC and between the AEC as a bloc with other countries.

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Gautam Khurana is the managing partner at India Law Offices in New Delhi. Aloysius Wee is the managing partner at Aquinas Law Alliance in Singapore.

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