Opening the 'India Show 2011' today, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said India would sign two major market-opening pacts with Japan and Malaysia in February. India recently negotiated a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan and a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Malaysia.
''We will be signing the pacts in the next few weeks, in February for sure. The proposed free-trade agreement in services, a key area of interest for India, and investments with the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expected to be finalised by March,'' Sharma said. "What we are seeking is to reach an early conclusion on an agreement in trade in services by March, that is the mandate."
The 'India Show 2011', a three-day business fair and India symposium organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India Brand Equity Foundation and the India High Commission in Singapore, has attracted participation from a record 90 exhibitors from India. The innovations showcased at the event range from the Tata Nano to spices, fabrics and wines.
According to Singapore trade and industry minister Lim Hng Kiang Singaporean companies were keen to explore opportunities in India.
''Singapore too has much to offer to Indian companies who are keen to gain foothold in Asia. Indian companies with operation in the region can centralise their functions in Singapore to plan and carry out a range of key business activities including investment planning and coordination, financial control and treasury functions and market development,'' Lim said. ''Indian companies can also use Singapore as a launch pad for trading and investment activities in the region.''
Kiang said that the signing of a MoU between the CII and the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) today would provide an opportunity for young business professionals to widen their business perspectives and contribute towards building network linkages between Singapore and India.