Tariffs have been reduced from an average of 71% in 1993 to an average of 35% today. However, the report notes that the customs structure remains complex and escalation remains high in several industries, particularly paper and paper products, printing and publishing, wood and wood products, and food, beverages and tobacco. In general, tied tariffs are still much higher than applied rates, especially for agricultural products. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is a global international organization that deals with the rules of trade between nations. The WTO`s work is part of the WTO agreements that have been negotiated and signed by the majority of the world`s trading nations and ratified by their parliaments. The aim is to assist producers of goods and services, exporters and importers in carrying out their activities. Foreign investment has also been greatly simplified, with an expanded list of industries, including the automotive sector, where investments in foreign stocks of up to 51 or 74% can be made automatically. Compulsory industrial licences are now limited to nine industries, up from 18 in India`s previous Review; The list of items reserved for production by the small sector has also decreased somewhat. Although tariff reforms have led to a halving of average tariffs in the food sector since 1993 (currently about 29% for food and 134% for beverages), restrictions on industrial and import licensing for a number of industries continue to be maintained. In addition, a number of products are reserved for production by the small sector. The production of the food sector has increased rapidly, especially after the increase in foreign investment, in which foreigners and non-resident Indians are automatically granted up to 51 and 100% of the participation, with the exception of products reserved for the small sector. The Association of Indian Ocean Riparian Countries for Regional Cooperation was recently established with 13 other countries in the region.
The statutes of the association were adopted in March 1997. Economic cooperation should take place in the areas of trade facilitation, promotion and liberalisation, promotion of foreign investment, promotion of scientific and technological cooperation, tourism, free movement of natural persons and service providers, and development of infrastructure and human resources. An enabling clause identifying other areas of cooperation is also included in the agreement. India has also signed subregional agreements with Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bhutan and, more recently, with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The details of the agreement with the term BISTEC are being formulated. .