India is likely to sign a free trade agreement with the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) during the summit to be held in April, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said.
Asked when India will sign the FTA with ASEAN, the minister merely said, ''Maybe at the ASEAN Summit in April.''
Kamal Nath, however, said there are still certain issues that needed to be settled before the trade pact with the ASEAN could be signed. He said much will depend on how soon the issues are sorted out.
The agreement seeks to make 95 per cent goods to be traded between India and ASEAN duty-free in two successive phases - the first phase starting in June, followed by another in January 2010.
It is unlikely that India's trade policy allows for two successive tariff reductions in one year.
Currently, trade between India and ASEAN is close to $40 billion and the target is to touch $50 billion by 2010.
An agreement on tariff reductions has been made even more difficult by the current economic slump across the world.
Free-trade talks between India and the ASEAN is slated for this month in Thailand.