India-ASEAN FTA in services likely by 2010-end

May 6th, 2010 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) After a free trade agreement (FTA) in goods, India now hopes to ink an FTA with the 10-member ASEAN bloc for services and investments by this year-end to broaden its trade basket.

“India has a competitive advantage. The services sector is a significant part of our industry and we want to broaden the trade basket with ASEAN through increased share of services exports to them… We want to get it done fast… hopefully, by this year-end. We will have this (FTA for services and investments signed between India and ASEAN) done,” Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters here Thursday.

Under the proposed agreement, India is demanding liberalisation of trade in services and investments, particularly movement of professionals.

Once the pact is signed and implemented, Indian professionals will be able to increase their presence in countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand which are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

India signed the FTA in goods in August 2009 which came into effect in January 2010.

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