India, ASEAN to review talks on FTA in services, investment

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Trade ministers of India and 10-member ASEAN will review the progress of ongoing negotiations to widen the base of free trade agreement between them by including services and investments.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who is on a four-day visit to Siem Reap (Cambodia), would participate in the Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meet.

"In the AEM, progress on agreement on trade in services and investment with ASEAN will be reviewed," Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement.

The India-ASEAN trade in goods agreement was signed in August 2010 after six years of negotiations and it came into force on January 1 last year.

Services and Investments could not be included in that free trade agreement as the two sides failed to reconcile their differences in time and it was decided to have a separate pact on these sectors.

ASEAN member nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Two-way trade between ASEAN and India in 2011-12 stood at $ 80 billion.

Sharma will also attend the meeting of ASEAN plus its free trade agreement partners consultations. It will include trade ministers of China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

"Discussions will be held on the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership," it added.

In addition, the minister will also have bilateral meetings with his counterparts.

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