India is supporting a Japanese proposal for an enlarged
trade block that will include China, India, Japan, South
Korea, Australia and New Zealand and the 10 members of
strongly support it," commerce and industry minister
Kamal Nath said after a meeting with his Japanese counterpart
Toshihiro Nikai on the sidelines of the 38th Asean Economic
Ministers Meeting (AEM).
said India fully backed the Japanese initiative, which
will result in huge economic gain for this part of the
economy minister Nikai had proposed the creation of a
16-nation Pan-Asian Free Trade Area. The proposed free
trade area will have economic activity worth $9 trillion,
a GDP of $10 trillion and a population size of 3.1 billion.
Asean members insist that the pact between the grouping
and Tokyo is more crucial. The group could then proceed
to clinch similar single markets with China and South
Korea and thereafter bring in Australia, New Zealand and
India, the Asean ministers said.
the tense negotiations behind doors, India said it would
now study Asean''s sensitive list comprising 1,900 goods
before pursuing its free trade negotiations with the 10-member
will be looking at the 1,900 odd list that Asean has said
which can be used as an indicator of Asean sensitive list
against 560 of ours and see what opportunites are there,"
Kamal Nath said.
said an Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was vital,
as there were tremendous opportunities for both India
and the Southeast Asian countries.
FTA talks with Asean slowed down after Asean rejected
India''s recent exclusion list with 560 items as they did
not include products that were of interest to Southeast
had pruned the list twice - from 1,400 items to 850 and
ahead of the 38th Asean Economics Minister (AEM) meeting
which concluded Wednesday.