Singapore, Sept 1: India and Singapore on Saturday launched the third review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca), which focuses on trade facilitation, e-commerce and customs.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and Singapore's Minister-in-Charge of Trade Relations S. Iswaran formally launched the review, signaling deepening of business, economic and trade collaboration between the two countries.
The discussions centred on "promoting cooperation in bilateral trade of goods, services and boosting investments between India and Singapore," Prabhu later said in a tweet.
"I am positive that this effort will further deepen our trade, business and cultural ties with Singapore."
Iswaran said the third review would "modernise the agreement and make it easier for Singapore companies to do business."
"CECA has opened up market access for Singapore companies in sectors such as finance, organic chemicals, plastics, as well as electrical machinery and equipment.
"Our companies also benefit from CECA's investment protection and dispute resolution provisions, and can do business in India with greater confidence."
The review comes four months after both countries concluded the second review of the trade pact, which would come into force in the middle of this month.
The CECA came into force in August, June 2005. It was was first reviewed in 2007 to see if trade and investments could develop even faster, with a second review following in June this year.
According to the Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry, two-way trade amounted to $25.2 billion last year.
At the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)-India Consultations held during the day, Prabhu said he reaffirmed the need for review of ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement in the discussions.
Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing also spoke on the importance of establishing strong links between the two sides.
"Backed by growing regional consumption and infrastructure developments, both sides are well-positioned to tap on each other's economic fundamentals and the region's growth opportunities," said Chan.
Total trade between ASEAN and India reached US$73.5 billion last year.
Prabhu said India and ASEAN would continue to work together on issues of mutual interests to promote regional collaborations and synergies. (UNI)