Indonesia, Thai trade pacts likely
India will begin the process of negotiating trade and investment agreements with Indonesia and Thailand, official sources said on Thursday.business Updated: Oct 28, 2010 21:30 IST
India will begin the process of negotiating trade and investment agreements with Indonesia and Thailand, official sources said on Thursday.
India concluded a successful comprehensive economic cooperation agreements with Malaysia and Japan. India will be seeking similar CECAs — free trade agreements that cover not only goods, but also services and investment — with other two Southeast Asian countries.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma and his Indonesian counterparts have exchanged letters agreeing to begin negotiations, sources said. The decision to have the Indonesian President Susilo Yudhoyono invited as next year’s Republic Day guest is related to this larger goal, sources said.
The CECAs allow India to push its agenda on services and investment, going beyond the traditional free trade agreement’s focus on trade in goods. In the Malaysian case, sources said, India won service access to the Malaysian market for Indian contractual workers, skilled professionals, and others.
Malaysia also relaxed its foreign ownership limits in the construction business. India also got better market access for a range of products including two-wheelers, trucks, fruits, fabric and eggs.
Sharma will be meeting his Indonesian counterpart on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit which begins in Vietnam on Friday.
While India’s trade with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations is governed by a India-ASEAN free trade agreement.