Sunday, May 26, 2013
Last Updated: 25 May 20:09 PM IST
18 December 2012
press trust of india
NEW DELHI, 18 DEC: Targeting a two-way trade of $100 billion by 2015, India and Asean will formally declare conclusion of negotiations for their ambitious free trade agreement to liberalise trade in services and investments on 20 December coinciding with their summit here.
“We will definitely conclude it and then we are duty-bound to report to the heads of states and heads of the governments who shall formally make the declaration on 20 December,” commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said at a joint Press conference with trade ministers of key Asean countries.
Currently, the trade between India and Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) stands at $80 billion. “We are aiming that the trade between the two sides will touch $100 billion by 2015,” Mr Sharma said.
Cambodian commerce minister Cham Prasidh expressed hope that the two-way commerce would cross $100 billion mark.
After operationalising free trade agreement in goods in August last year, both the sides engaged in widening the base of the pact by including services and investments. However, the talks were getting delayed due to differences in opening up the sectors.
Mr Sharma said that all the ministers have strongly supported the process of negotiations “so that we can have an ambitious and balanced comprehensive economic agreement which would be in place once we conclude the services and investment chapter”.
He said that after conclusion of the talks, it may take an year to fully implement the pact.
Earlier, while speaking after the inauguration of 2nd India-Asean business fair organised by Ficci, Mr Sharma said the negotiations for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade agreement comprising 16 countries of the region including India and China, are expected to conclude by 2015.
Besides the free trade pact with Asean, India is negotiating market opening pact bilaterally with the members of the block.
Summit to boost Look East Policy
NEW DELHI, 18 DEC: The upcoming India-Asean summit in the Capital on Thursday and Friday is likely to act as a major boost for India’s Look East Policy. While not too much is expected out of the summit, it will nevertheless help showcase India’s seriousness to engage with Asean nations, in an attempt to counter China’s growing influence over the region.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken the initiative of personally inviting many of the Asean leaders to attend the summit. It is hence a welcome sign that the summit will be attended by nine heads of state out of the 10-member Asean countries, Philippines being the only exception whose vice-president will be attending the summit. Dr Singh will also meet a number of leaders and hold bilateral meetings with them.
The Delhi summit will mark the 20th anniversary of the Asean-India dialogue partnership and the 10th anniversary of Asean-India summit-level partnership. The summit is expected to adopt the ‘Asean-India Vision Statement 2020’, which would give pointers to the future direction of Asean-India relationship. This will also include recommendations by the Asean-India Eminent Persons Group (AIEPG). sns