labels: industry - general, economy - general
India offers tariff cuts on 94 per cent of Asean exportsnews
18 August 2006

Mumbai: India is offering fresh tariff concessions on a range of imports, including sensitive agricultural products, from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), in a bid to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the grouping.

The revised proposals submitted by India, ahead of an Asean economic ministers'' meeting next week, offers tariff reductions on 94 per cent of ASEAN''s exports to India, compared to 69 per cent offered during the preparatory talks, said Gopal K Pillai, head of the Indian delegation. Tariff on palm oil is among the four highly sensitive agricultural imports whose duties are being revised, he said. Tariffs on refined palm oil will be reduced from 90 per cent to 60 per cent, on crude palm oil from 80 per cent to 50 per cent, on black tea from 100 per cent to 50 per cent and on pepper from 70 per cent to 50 per cent, he said.

The preferential market access included 95 per cent to 100 per cent for seven ASEAN members and 85 per cent or more for the other three members, they said in a press paper.

During the consultation meeting, India tabled a detailed tariff elimination for over 4,000 tariff lines, or 77 percent of the total tariff lines and phased tariff reduction for more than 600 ones, or 12 percent of the total. India also watered down the list of excluded items from the pact to 560 goods, bringing it to just about six per cent of ASEAN''s exports, Pillai said.

India had trimmed its list of excluded items to around 850 items a few months ago from 1,400 last year. However, it was still unacceptable to ASEAN as it accounted for about 30 per cent of the region''s exports to India.

Although Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said had indicated last year that India-ASEAN FTA negotiations could be completed by 2007, Indian officials said that this country was not prepared to make concessions on agriculture at least for the next five years.

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India offers tariff cuts on 94 per cent of Asean exports