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India, Russia to talk FTA, ways to up bilateral trade

business Updated: Mar 15, 2017 14:32 IST
Eurasian Economic Union

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry of India attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/Files

Trade ministers of India and Russia are expected to chalk out a road map for signing a free trade pact with the Eurasian Economic Union and take up issues to boost bilateral trade at a meeting here tomorrow.

The Eurasian Economic Union includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart Denis Manturov are slated to address the India-Russia Business Forum after inaugurating the International Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS).

The ministers are expected to take stock of the report by the joint study group on the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and decide on the time frame for bilateral negotiations and components of the proposed pact.

The two sides may also take up the issue of mutual market access for agricultural and processed food products, including dairy products and bovine meat, to widen the range of products for bilateral trade.

Several measures, including an agreement on a free trade zone between the EAEU and India, is expected to help increase the bilateral trade with Russia to $30 billion by 2025, which stood at $6.17 billion in 2015-16.

India is slated to showcase its technological and engineering prowess to top international firms at the IESS.

The three-day event, beginning March 16, is being organised by engineering exporters’ body EEPC India and is likely to see participation from 400 top global exhibitors and over 500 foreign delegates.

India’s engineering exports are likely to touch $62 billion in 2016-17 on the back of revival of demand in the US.

For April-January 2016-17, the engineering exports have touched the $50.87 billion mark, exceeding the total shipments of $49 billion for the whole of 2015-16.

EEPC India Chairman T S Bhasin said that while the engineering exports have started growing again, the growth has come about on a low base, an offshoot of sluggish performance in the last few years.

Delegates from countries, including the UK, Brazil, the US and the UAE, are taking part in the IESS.