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India in talks with China for free trade pact

business Updated: Oct 25, 2009 15:54 IST

IANS
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A day after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao smoked peace pipe, New Delhi on Sunday said it is in discussion with Beijing for a free trade agreement aimed at breaking the duty barriers for bilateral trade.

"We have signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreements with Singapore and the Republic of Korea and recently a trade in goods agreements with the ASEAN. We are in discussions with Japan, China, Thailand and Malaysia and other countries to conclude agreements of a similar nature," Singh said at the 4th East Asia Summit here.

Faced with a huge trade imbalance in favour of China, the Indian industry is strongly against signing any FTA-like agreement with the neighbouring country. The Commerce Ministry has launched the maximum number of investigations for dumping its goods into the Indian market.

Against exports of $9.26 billion, imports from China into India totatalled $31.33 billion in fiscal 2008-09.

India is also in favour of creating a large Asian trade and investment community, while the Prime Minister said that the focus should presently be on creating of the domestic demand at the time of global financial crisis. However, at the government various study groups have been initiated.

"Our focus should be on generation of stronger domestic demand in Asian economies through investment in infrastrucutre, creation and strengthening of the social welfare...." Singh said.