India, Indonesia begin talks for economic accord

October 4th, 2011 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) India and Indonesia have started talks for a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) that would help boost the flow of investment and trade between the two countries.

“We have launched our bilateral CECA negotiations and I am glad to note that the negotiations have got off to a good start,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after meeting his Indonesian counterpart Mari Elka Pangestu.

Sharma, who is in Jakarta for the first Indonesia-Biennial Trade Ministers’ Forum (BTMF), said the economic agreement would build on the existing ASEAN-India free trade agreement.

“The bilateral CECA would build on what has already been achieved under the ASEAN-India FTA and would be a comprehensive agreement, covering economic cooperation, trade in goods and services, and investment,” the commerce ministry quoted Sharma in a statement released Tuesday.

Indonesia continues to impose a ban on import of Indian buffalo meat citing presence of foot and mouth disease in the country. India on the other hand has maintained that it exports buffalo meeat from regions which are free of the disease.

Currently India exports buffalo meat to more than 60 countries, among them to Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the UAE, Russia and Jordan.

Indonesia has also been placing restrictons on Indian pharmaceutical companies, placing conditions such as requiring them to set up a production facility in the country within two years of getting registered.

“Our senior officials have discussed issues on both sides related to non-tariff barriers. India is particularly keen on bovine meat exports to Indonesia and higher participation in the pharmaceutical sector of Indonesia,” said Sharma.

There is also a foreign direct investment cap of 70 percent which inhibits Indian exports of drugs.

Both countries have set a target of achieving trade volume of $25 billion by 2015.

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