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ASEAN-India trade - Big Cargo Ship in the Ocean

The Prospects of ASEAN’s Trade Integration with India: Challenges and Opportunities

Striving for greater economic collaboration, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has sought to deepen trade integration with India. This article explores the prospects of this integration, delving into the challenges and opportunities that arise as these two dynamic regions endeavor to strengthen their economic ties.

Trade between ASEAN and India has grown significantly in the past two decades, fueled by their complementary economies and the signing of the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA) in 2009 (Narjoko, 2018). While the potential for further trade expansion remains vast, several challenges impede the full realization of these opportunities. Among these hurdles are tariff and non-tariff barriers, divergent regulatory frameworks, and inadequate infrastructure (Pal, 2020).

Despite these challenges, numerous opportunities for deepening trade integration exist. India’s growing middle class, burgeoning services sector, and untapped consumer market offer attractive prospects for ASEAN exporters (Saha, 2017). Additionally, India’s expertise in information technology and services could facilitate ASEAN’s digital transformation and promote regional innovation (Menon & Sridhar, 2019).

To harness the potential of ASEAN-India trade integration, both parties must address the existing barriers. Enhancing regional connectivity, harmonizing regulations, and promoting greater transparency in trade policies could help foster an environment conducive to deeper economic collaboration (Das, 2021).

In conclusion, ASEAN and India have much to gain from further trade integration. By overcoming the challenges and capitalizing on the opportunities, these two regions can forge a robust and mutually beneficial economic partnership in the years to come.


Das, R. (2021). ASEAN-India Economic Relations: Progress, Challenges, and Way Forward. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, 38(1), 1-19.

Menon, J., & Sridhar, V. (2019). Digital Integration in South Asia: India’s Trade and Investment Opportunities in ASEAN. Asian Development Bank.

Narjoko, D. A. (2018). Evaluating the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement: An Industry Perspective. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, 35(3), 389-410.

Pal, P. (2020). Strengthening ASEAN-India Economic Relations: The Role of Trade Facilitation. In H. Lim & F. Kimura (Eds.), ASEAN-India Economic Relations: Assessing Progress and Exploring Opportunities (pp. 41-68). Springer.

Saha, S. (2017). Trade, Investment, and Connectivity between India and ASEAN: Opportunities and Challenges. South Asia Economic Journal, 18(1), 61-77.

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