India, Japan trade to touch $15 bn by 2010

March 9th, 2008 - 11:45 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Trade between India and Japan is poised to double by 2010 from the current $7.5 billion, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). This could be achieved if both the countries look at raising the number of items that India exports to Japan under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which is currently under negotiation, CII said in its study.

India mainly exports gems and jewellery, marine products, minerals and textile products to Japan. Exports could be increased substantially as Japan has very low import duties on most goods.

India imports machinery, transport equipment, electronic goods, chemicals and metal products from Japan.

The study also suggested India increase its agricultural exports to Japan, as the latter’s self-sufficiency rate in food production is about 40 percent.

“The share of agricultural items in India’s exports to Japan has seen a decline by about 22 percent in the last 10 years, although the processed food exports increased by four percent during this period,” the study noted.

The chamber also recommended addressing issues such as existence of certain non-tariff barriers for several Indian agricultural, pharmaceutical and chemical goods.

It also said trade between the two countries could be pushed further if trivial but otherwise important issues in terms of understanding Japanese rules and regulations, which are mostly in the Japanese language, could be addressed.

CII also batted for Japan easing visa norms, especially for Indian medical and para-medical workers and engineers as it has done for nurses of the Philippines and Indonesia under various free trade pacts.

The study also indicated that with the implementation of the CEPA, the negotiations for which started in January last year and is expected to be concluded by 2009, investments between the two countries are likely to be increased.

Both the sides have already had five rounds of negotiations till date and a sixth meeting is likely to be held in Tokyo March 24.

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