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 20 Jan 2009

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Asean, India to sign trade pact in Feb

India is likely to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN during the 14th summit of the group slated to take place in February in Thailand, reported Vietnam’s state news agency VNA..   

India will submit a letter to the Commerce Ministry on Jan. 19 agreeing to sign the long-awaited FTA with Asean during next month's summit, NAM news network reported.   

Speaking following a meeting with the Thailand-based Indian trade ambassador, Thai Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai was quoted as saying that the letter would confirm that India will not attempt to change any of the provisions of the FTA, for which negotiations concluded last year.

Under the FTA, Asean and India will be committed to liberalising trade in goods. Thailand now enjoys zero tariffs on just 82 items exported to India.   

Taxes on about 75 percent of the trade in agricultural and industrial products will be gradually phased out by 2012, while tariffs for another 10 percent will be eliminated in 2015.

The remaining 15 percent consist of sensitive items that must be renegotiated.   

With lower tariff barriers, trade between India and Asean is expected to increase significantly from the present $28 billion annually.  





















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