Manila, Dec 18 (IANS) The Philippine government Tuesday urged Filipino exporters to look for opportunities in India amid slowdown in key markets like the US and Europe and the existing trade agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and India.
Bureau of Export Trade Promotion Director Senen Perlada said that the ASEAN-India trade agreement opens market opportunities for Filipino exporters engaged in furniture, food and beverage, personal care products and information technology, reported Xinhua.
"Engaging in FTA (Free Trade Area) markets such as India will help maintain the country's competitiveness, promote cross-border complementation and sustain the inflow of investments," Perlada said.
He said the ASEAN-India trade has steadily grown over the past five years from $21.2 billion in 2007 to $43.9 billion in 2011. This is due to the growing affluence of Indian consumers, with a GDP per capita of $1,489 and an annual food and beverage consumption valued at over $3 billion. India's changing lifestyle and consumer habits also resulted in the rapid expansion of branded food outlets and cafe chains in the area.
In 2011, India was the Philippines' 18th top trading partner, 17th top export destination and 15th top import source.
All 10 ASEAN states are currently implementing the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement.
Under the agreement, exports such as cut flowers, black tea, spices, vegetable saps and extracts, olive oil, breads and pastries, fruit juices, kitchenware, construction materials, essential oils, soap and polymers among others will enjoy zero tariffs by 2019.
These products currently have reduced tariff from 7 to 24 percent in the Indian market.