ASEAN must address FTA concerns: India | india | Hindustan Times
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ASEAN must address FTA concerns: India

india Updated: Jan 08, 2007 17:13 IST
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Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the Philippines for the ASEAN summit, India on Sunday said its "sensitivities" should be addressed in the ongoing negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations.

"India has certain sensitivities which must be reflected in the ASEAN FTA," Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conclave here.

Nath would be going to the Philippines before the Prime Minister to make efforts to reach a consensus with the ASEAN on the contentious issue of the 'negative list'.

India has offered to prune this list to 490 from 563 as the latest offering to the South East Asian trading bloc.

Besides seeking a drastic reduction in the negative list, certain ASEAN members like Vietnam and Indonesia want greater market access for agricultural commodities including palm oil and pepper.

In reply to another question, the Minister said India was negotiating a new trade agreement with Mauritius.

"We hope to conclude a new trade agreement with Mauritius in the next few months," he said.

The existing tax treaty between India and Mauritius has come under criticism.

Answering a question on the controversies over land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram in West Bengal for industries, Nath said this was a state subject and should be dealt with accordingly.

The summit and other related meetings, which were put off last month due to inclement weather, are scheduled to be held at the resort island of Cebu from January 10 to 15.