labels: economy - general
India to pursue FTA with ASEAN in Novembernews
16 October 2006

Mumbai: India would make another bid in November to break the deadlock in talks for a free trade agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). "The meeting of the trade negotiation committee (TNC) is likely to be held on 18-19th of next month," commerce secretary G K Pillai said.

The TNC would attempt to build an agreement on the list of items from both sides on which duties would not be cut, he said.

Early this month, member countries of ASEAN met to discuss a new proposal from India to cut its negative list to 560 and formulate its offer.

While India has a list of 560 items on which it has refused to cut tariffs, the ASEAN countries have come up with a list of 600 items. India claimed that this negative list of 600 products sent by the ASEAN countries comprises just 80 per cent of products that are traded while India''s list takes care of 95 per cent of the traded goods.

India has substantially reduced its negative list of 1,440 items to 854 tariff lines in the first step and to 560 in its revised offer. However, for 294 items, it has said that tariffs will be gradually reduced.

The meeting in November assumes significance as the December deadline to conclude the negotiations is round the corner. Both sides have already missed the June 2005 deadline to finalise the FTA.

The pact could not be finalised as the two sides had reservations over the other''s negative list. An agreement, if clinched, would come into force in 2007, official sources said.

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India to pursue FTA with ASEAN in November