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India to sign free trade pact with Japan and Malaysia

India to sign free trade pact with Japan and Malaysia

New Delhi: India will sign a comprehensive market opening trade pact with Japan on 16 February that would enable both the countries to reduce or eliminate duties on most of the goods and services.

The country would also ink the free trade pact with Malaysia in the same week.

“On 16th (February), we will be in Tokyo to formally sign the agreement and next day travel to Kuala Lumpur to sign the agreement with Malaysia," commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said at a function organised jointly by the ministry and CII.

Sharma said that India has already concluded the negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Malaysia.

The agreements are aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs on over 90% of the goods India trades with Japan and Malaysia.

Besides, opening market for merchandise, the pacts also aim at liberalising trade in services, an area of particular interest to India.

According to sources, under the India-Japan CEPA, both the sides would relax barriers on trade in goods, investment, services and movement of professionals, besides enhanced cooperation on protection of intellectual property.

The agreement would boost the two-way commerce which stood at about $11 billion in 2009-10.

The pact with Malaysia (a member of ASEAN), will be in addition to the FTA India has with the 10-nation Southeast Asian nations.

The agreement with Malaysia is expected to come into effect from July and would give a boost to the $8 billion bilateral trade in 2009-10.

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