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FTA with China is not a priority, says Govt

India has already signed trade agreements with Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and is a signatory to the SAFTA, HT reports.

business Updated: Apr 24, 2008 00:17 IST

India has not taken a final decision on the Free Trade Agreement with China, as it was not an immediate priority, due to divisions within the government and from the industry, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh, told the House during the Question Hour that a final decision would only be taken after consulting all the stakeholders, including the industry.

“There are deep divisions both within the government as well as within the industry on the issue of FTA with China”, Ramesh said in reply to a question.

He said India and China had set up a joint study group to determine the feasibility of an FTA.

The Minister sought to ally the members’ concern that Chinese products were flooding the Indian market, saying, “there was no cause for alarm as trade between India and China has seen a spectacular growth over the recent years”.

India has already signed trade agreements with Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and is a signatory to the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), Ramesh said.

In reply to a separate question, he said Pakistan has violated the international law by not granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India despite being its beneficiary from the Indian side.

He said despite Pakistan not granting MFN status to India, trade between the two has increased with exports to that country touching $ 1.6 Billion and imports about $ 400 million.