India and Japan have not been able to identify common areas of cooperation under their proposed 'Free Trade Agreement Plus', which would come up for discussion during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit starting from Tuesday.
The Joint Study Group on the FTA Plus has so far held three meetings in New Delhi and Tokyo, "but we still do not know what we want and how we should describe the agreement - a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or an Economic Partnership Agreement," Joint Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Dinesh Sharma said at a CII conference in New Delhi.
Unlike the FTA that deals with only trade in goods, FTA Plus would cover trade in goods, services and investments including FDI.
Sharma later told reporters that the proposed 'FTA Plus' agreement, discussions on which started in March this year, would take less than two years to be finalised.
"We have had three meetings already and the next one is scheduled for September, I am sure the agreement would be finalised before March 2009," Sharma said.
He said the modalities have been discussed and their final draft was cleared in the last meeting, but declined to elaborate on the way the negotiations were moving.
He said during Abe's three-day visit, the 90 billion dollar Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), and the Economic Partnership Agreement (FTA Plus) would come up for discussions between the two sides.
The DMIC is a flagship project of the Special Economic Partnership Initiative between India and Japan as envisioned in the joint statement issued by the two countries during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Japan in December 2006.