It is important to note that India views free trade agreements as an important instrument for improving trade and investment and has signed a number of trade agreements with different countries or groups. India is one of the most advanced countries in Asia, with the maximum number of free trade agreements under way or under negotiation or proposed. According to the Asian Development Institute, India has currently in force, signed or negotiated 42 trade agreements (including preferential agreements). Thirteen of them are in force, one is signed but has not yet been implemented, 16 are being negotiated and 12 are proposed/in consultation or under study. Most of the free trade agreements in force in India are with Asian countries that are very different in terms of the level of their economic development. A customs union (UC) is a free trade agreement in which members apply a common external tariff plan (ETC) to imports of non-members. List of agreements being negotiated. Agreements that have so far been discussed only in the absence of formal action by the parties concerned are not mentioned. Overall, India`s experience in trade with its major free trade partners, with the exception of SAFTA, has not been very encouraging. While India has significantly increased its exports from its free trade agreement with SAFTA countries, the EPA with Korea and the ECSC with ASEAN have been more beneficial to these economies. However, in the case of the EPA with Japan, bilateral trade declined or stagnated after the first year of implementation, but with Japan, too, the trade deficit increased considerably. In addition to a number of domestic factors that have hampered the competitiveness of Indian exports and prevented India from using preferential market access in these partner countries, a number of FTA-related issues are responsible for a less favourable development of India`s trade relations with ASEAN, Korea and Japan.
These issues include erroneous obligations, stricter rules of origin, a lack of awareness of free trade agreements and high compliance costs. It is therefore important that India is not satisfied with the opening of a review of the India-ASEAN free trade agreement, but the existing EPA provisions with Korea and Japan should also be evaluated to make them more trade-friendly and business-friendly. However, it is equally important that India at the same time develop all necessary measures to remove barriers to the overall competitiveness of exports in the country. EFTA has bilateral agreements with the following countries – including dependent regions – and blocs: Indian associations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) began in 1991 with their « Look East Policy ». India`s focus on a strengthened and diverse association with India is the result of ASEAN`s economic, political and strategic importance in the Broader Asia-Pacific region and its potential to become an important trade and investment partner for India. After the agreement, the SAFTA instrument will be as follows: the Eurasian Economic Union, composed of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, has concluded the following free trade agreements, see below.