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 Kamar Nor Aini Bt Kamarul Zaman
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 The Economic Times
 India hopes to conclude FTA with ASEAN by March

23/01/2008 (The Economic Times), New Delhi - A free trade agreement between India and 10-nation ASEAN is likely to be operationalised by January 2009, with negotiations expected to conclude by March this year, Commerce Secretary Gopal Pillai said on Wednesday.

"We hope that by March, we will conclude negotiations on the FTA with Association of South East Asian Nations and implement it by January 2009," he said here.

Pillai said that under the FTA, tariffs would be brought down on 73 per cent of tradeable items.

On bilateral agreements being negotiated with Japan, South Korea and 27-member trading bloc European Union, Pillai said negotiations on the respective trade pacts are likely to be concluded by the end of 2009.

India had signed a framework agreement on the trade pact with ASEAN in 2003. However, differences persist between the two sides mainly on import duty cuts in agricultural products of tea, coffee, palm oil and pepper.


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