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Japan keen to seal major economic pact

business Updated: Aug 22, 2007 03:04 IST
Gaurav Choudhury

India and Japan hope to sign a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CEPA) by the end of 2008. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's current visit to India will boost inter-governmental negotiations on the proposed treaty.

Abe, who is on a two-day visit to India, said Japanese companies are keen to invest in India, especially in the $100 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) and other such mega projects.

The Japanese Prime Minister, who addressed his country's industry captains here on Tuesday, asked the Indian government to facilitate early signing of CEPA by addressing issues related to rules of origin and tariff rules.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said both India and Japan intend to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) at the earliest.

"Talks are on the fast track and we expect to have the agreement in place by the designated time," Nath said.

"The two governments will require active participation from business leaders of both sides to ensure the success of the comprehensive economic engagement between the two countries…", Nath said.

Two rounds of negotiations on the proposed CEPA have already taken place and four working groups have been set up to examine issues relating to trade in goods and services and investment and bilateral cooperation.

An India-Japan joint study group (JSG) had recommended that the two countries launch inter-governmental negotiations to develop CEPA.

Japan is the fifth major investor in India with cumulative inflow of $2.58 billion since 1991. Indian exports to Japan in 2006-07 were worth $2.81 billion while imports from Japan were to the tune of $4.56 billion.