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Japan, India to sign free trade agreement

world Updated: Feb 15, 2011 12:53 IST

The Japanese government said on Tuesday that it would sign a free trade agreement with India that would abolish duties on more than 90% of trade for 10 years.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma were to conclude the accord on Wednesday, officials said.

The deal would eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of Japanese exports to India, such as auto parts and electric appliances, and 97 percent of imports from India, including agricultural and fisheries products, until 2021.

The two countries have been negotiating since January 2007.

"India is a very big market and sharply growing," Trade Minister Banri Kaieda told a news conference.

"With the accord, the government can support Japanese firms doing business in India, which seeks infrastructure technologies from Japan."

Japan and India are also to continue talks on lifting employment restrictions to allow Indians to work in Japan as nurses and care givers. Japan, which is bracing itself for increasing health care requirements as its population ages, hopes to conclude the talks within two years, the government said.