India has finalised free trade agreements (FTA) with Japan and Malaysia and will sign the deals in February, the country’s minister for commerce and industry, Anand Sharma, said.
Sharma, talking to reporters at a conference in Singapore, said he expected the FTAs will boost trading volumes between India and its partners.
“Much more will come when we sign the final agreements, which will give a further boost (on trade), and also the agreements between India and ASEAN on services which will be completed very soon,” Sharma told a press briefing.
ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nation, which comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The FTA deal between India and Malaysia is expected to almost double trade by 2015, while the deal with Japan could boost bilateral commerce tenfold between the two Asian powers.
The deals would allow these countries to reduce dependence on traditional growth engines such as China and the United States.
Trade between India and Japan in 2009 was 940 billion yen ($11 billion), about 4 percent of Japan’s trade with China, Japanese government figures show, and the FTA will eliminate tariffs on 94 percent of bilateral trade flows in 10 years.
Malaysia is India’s 19th largest trade partner, with exports and imports totalling about $8 billion in 2009-2010, while India is Malaysia’s 12th largest trading partner.
The United Arab Emirates is India’s biggest trade partner, followed by China and the United States. (Reuters)