Japan, India biz leaders discuss ways to boost trade ties

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The Japan-India Business Leaders Forum discussed ways to boost bilateral trade here on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing visit.

The forum highlighted the need to promote Japanese investment in high-technology manufacturing in India and promote value added exports from India to Japan, a statement by industry body CII said.

"The bilateral trade between India and Japan has declined to USD 16.3 billion in 2013-2014 as compared to USD 18.5 billion in 2012-2013. There is a need to enhance our bilateral trade that is commensurate with the size of the two countries' economies," the statement said.

Business leaders from both the sides exchanged suggestions on measures to boost bilateral trade.

Indian corporate honchos put forth demands like removal of Withholding Tax of 10 per cent on dividend, royalty and technical service fees; early conclusion of Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in pharma sector to enable both countries to identify testing procedures and standards used in the other country for their goods.

Besides, they also demanded lifting the ban on 17 food additives which are registered in India, reduce the cost of certification by Japanese agencies and relax maximum residue levels of Ethoxyquin on marine and agricultural products.

The leaders also wanted Japan to facilitate the movement of natural persons by relaxing the academic qualifications criteria in issuing visas for professionals, the statement said.

The Japanese business leaders asked India to simplify land acquisition, early roll out of Goods & Services Tax and resolve inconsistencies in tax collection between central and state governments, and carefully apply transfer pricing rules.

They pressed for removal of restrictions on granting foreign financial institutions permits to operate in city centers and easing of restrictions on foreign capital investment in Indian banks (4.99% under new bank approval guidelines and 26% under the revised banking law).

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