India Steps up trade talks with EU, Japan and Malaysia

By admin • August 25th, 2010

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According to the Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, India is making positive efforts to conclude bilateral trade agreements with the European Union, Japan and Malaysia as soon as possible. The minister said he will meet with key representatives from EU and Asean (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries on August 26th and 27th in Vietnam to speed up the process.

Minister Sharma is scheduled to meet Japanese trade minister Masayuki Naoshima, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gutch and Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Investment Mustapa Mohamed. Talks are expected to cover the current progress of the India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), India-EU Trade and Investment Agreement and India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations.

India has already signed a trade in goods agreement with the Asean which came into force in January this year. The agreement covers tariff liberalisation between both parties. However, currently only four of the 10 countries (Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia) which are represented by Asean have utilised the agreement so far. Minister Sharma is hopeful that the remaining countries will utilise the agreement soon.

Currently trade between India and the Asean countries stands at $43.5 billion and targets have been set to raise this amount to $70 billion by 2012. The minister said that diversification of trade is essential, as India continues to look for new trading partners in an attempt to reduce its dependence on developed economies such as the USA and European Countries.

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