India, Japan aim for $25 bn trade by 2014 (Lead, changing dateline)

February 16th, 2011 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) India and Japan Wednesday signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement and set a target to more than double bilateral trade to $25 billion by 2014. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara signed the agreement in Tokyo, an official statement said.

“This is the most ambitious agreement signed by India so far and covers trade in goods, services and investment under its ambit,” the ministry of commerce and industry said in the statement here.

“India stands to gain significantly through this agreement and 90 percent of tariff lines are covered while Japan has covered 5 percent more lines than India,” it said.

The agreement seeks to eliminate tariffs on 90 percent of Japanese exports to India, such as auto parts and electric appliances, and 97 percent of imports from India, including agricultural and fisheries products, until 2021.

In their meeting, after signing the agreement, the two ministers set a target to more than double bilateral trade to $25 billion by 2014.

India’s bilateral trade with Japan was $10.36 billion in 2009-10. Trade balance is heavily in favour of Japan as India imported goods worth $6.73 billion while its export to Japan was $3.63 billion.

The two countries started negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in January 2007.

Welcoming the pact, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the deal would substantially boost Indian export to Japan.

“We will be able to increase our exports to Japan from $3.63 billion in 2009-10 to $25 billion by 2014-15,” FIEO President Ramu S. Deora said here while reacting on the deal.

Deora said elimination of tariffs especially on textiles will boost Indian export to Japan.

Indian pharmaceutical sector will be among the major beneficiaries of the deal. For the first time Japan has committed to give the same treatment for Indian generics as their domestic industry.

Apart from this, Indian agricultural products including instant tea, seafood will find their way into the Japanese market. Textile products including readymade garments stand to gain significantly in terms of market access.

Japan has also committed to lower tariffs on petrochemicals and chemical products, jewellery and cement.

“In the services sector India has obtained considerable concessions including commitments for providing greater access for contractual suppliers, professionals such as accountants, researchers, tourist guides and management consultants who will now be able to provide their services in Japan,” the commerce and industry ministry said.

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