India-ASEAN FTA in services gets govt's nod

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    India-ASEAN FTA in services gets govt's nod

    The two sides were expected to sign the proposed pact on the sidelines of WTO meeting in Bali in December last year

    The free trade agreement between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on services was approved by the Cabinet in December last year, Parliament was informed today.

    India has informed the ASEAN secretariat that it has completed the internal procedure of inking the pact, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Sudarsana Natchiappan said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

    "The Cabinet has in its meeting held on December 19, 2013 approved signing and ratification of the ASEAN-India agreement on trade in services," he said.

    He said that now ASEAN "should inform dates for signing of the agreement."

    The two sides were expected to sign the proposed pact on the sidelines of WTO meeting in Bali in December last year, but the process was delayed due to want of clearance from the Cabinet.

    The Minister said that both the sides have negotiated an agreement on trade in services and an "annex" on movement of natural persons as part of the pact.

    "The annex clearly defines the various kinds of natural persons eg: business visitors, contractual service suppliers and intra-corporate transferee's," he said.

    He further informed that most of the ASEAN member states have taken commitments in the schedule of specific commitments for some of these categories of natural persons.

    The pact is expected to facilitate the movement of Indian professionals in ASEAN.

    Trade between India and ASEAN was about USD 76 billion in 2012-13. Both the sides aim to increase it to USD 100 billion by 2015.

    Replying to a separate question, he said that There is a big deficit in India's bilateral trade with Japan.

    "During 2012-13, India's trade deficit stood at USD 6.31 billion in favour of Japan while in the current financial year up to December 2013, trade deficit stood at USD 2.14 billion in Japan's favour," he said.

    India has implemented in 2011 a comprehensive free trade pact with Japan.

    India has so far concluded 10 FTAs with Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, India-SAFTA and India-ASEAN.

    India-ASEAN FTA in services gets govt's nod | Business Standard
     
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