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12 September 2009

Recent FTA to help push India-Asean talks on services agreement

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India looks forward to accessing the vast services market of Asean and is currently negotiating an agreement on trade in services and investments with the group, Malaysia’s Starbiz daily reported.

The recent signing of the Asean-India free trade agreement (FTA) would give further impetus to the trade and investment linkages between them, Stabiz reported, quoting the Indian High Commission in Malaysia.

India and Asean’s total trade in services in 2006 was $137.5 billion and $280.9 billion respectively.

The negotiations on the new agreement are expected to be concluded by December.

In a statement, the High Commission said India and Asean aimed to achieve bilateral trade of $50 billion by 2010 with the recent signing of the FTA that would come into force on January 1.

Asean is a major trading partner for India and accounts for about 10 percent of its global trade. From April 2007 to March 2008, bilateral trade between India and Asean was about $40 billion.

The trade in goods agreement focuses on tariff liberalisation on mutually agreed tariff lines from both sides. It is targeted to eliminate tariffs on 80 percent of the tariff lines accounting for 75 percent of the trade in a gradual manner starting next year.

The FTA was the second bilateral trade agreement signed by Asean this year, after the one with Australia and New Zealand.



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