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India, ASEAN reach consensus on FTA

The trade bloc is agreeing to India's proposal to a negative list of 490 items, reports Monica Gupta.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 21:04 IST

India and ASEAN on Thursday agreed to resolve all outstanding issues for the proposed Free trade Agreement (FTA) by July 2007.

The deadlocked talks between the two sides got a boost with the trade bloc agreeing to India's proposal to a negative list of 490 items.India will not offer any tariff cuts on these items.

An official release said that both sides agreed that the number of items in the negative list should exceed more than five per cent of the bilateral trade.

ASEANhas been wanting India to prune its negative list of items. India had originally sought more than 1,000 items in the negative list which was pruned to 864 items and later to 560 items. India has now offered to prune it to 490 items.

"There was a broad consensus among the ministers that the ASEAN-India FTA needs to be concluded early not merely for reasons of bilateral trade but also for larger strategic reasons," the release said.

The Indian delegation for the talks in the run-up to the ASEAN summit at Cebu in Philippines is being led by Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is slated to attend the main summit on January 15.

First Published: Jan 11, 2007 21:04 IST