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Indo-Japan relations to move fast on a new corridornews
18 April 2007

Chennai: Indian-Japanese trade and economic relations are moving on to a new trajectory with major new initiatives such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) being given concrete shape and the economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations between the two countries getting underway.

Union minister of commerce and industry Kamal Nath and Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry Akira Amari indicated this at an interactive session with business representatives in New Delhi on 14 April, 2007. The event was jointly organised the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) ministry of commerce and industry and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII).

In a presentation made on the occasion, Dr Ajay Dua, secretary (DIPP), outlined the key features of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, which would pass through six states of India (viz., Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra).

The dedicated freight corridors were planned along Delhi-Mumbai in phase-I and along Delhi-Kolkata routes in phase-II. The project would double employment potential in India; triple industrial output; and quadruple exports from the regions covered by the project in five years, he said.

The project would involve development of industrial infrastructure such as upgradation of all industrial clusters in the corridor together with promotion of 10-12 new ones; improvement of physical infrastructure including upgradation of five – six airports, setting up of two greenfield ports in Gujarat and Maharashtra and augmenting rail and port connectivity, Dua said.

Hailing Japan''s role as the largest contributor of overseas development assistance (ODA) Nath asserted that the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor project as well as the EPA negotiations would significantly enhance bilateral trade and economic ties. He also reiterated India''s support to Japan''s proposal for an East Asian economic region (ASEAN + 6).

In his address the Japanese minister Amari referred to the series of measures initiated since the visit of Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Japan in December 2006 to strengthen Indo-Japan relations. The DMIC, he said, was extremely important as it would accelerate Japanese investment in India, rapidly develop India''s infrastructure sector including industrial parks, roads, ports, rail connectivity etc., along the routes and facilitate exports from the regions covered by the freight corridor. He said that he would come to India with a large business delegation in July, ahead of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe''s visit to the country.

According to Sunil Munjal, past president, CII, in the last one year there had been increased investment from Japan and trade was also expanding rapidly, although it was still far below the potential. Bilateral trade in 2005-06 went up by 22 per cent to over $ 6.5 billion.

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Indo-Japan relations to move fast on a new corridor