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India ready to sign FTA in Services, Investment with ASEAN: PM

Phnom Penh, Nov 19, 2012 (PTI)
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh shakes hands with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during a Bilateral Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Monday. PTI

India is prepared to conclude the Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment with ASEAN by next month, which will send a strong signal of deepening economic engagement, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced here today.

He also pitched for enhanced cooperation between India and 10-nation ASEAN for promotion of peace, security and stability in the region and addressing shared challenges.
Addressing the India-ASEAN Summit here, Singh said, "India's relationship with ASEAN members and with ASEAN institutionally continues to grow in all dimensions.

Commerce and connectivity are vital areas of this relationship and we have made good progress in both."

He noted that the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement on Trade in Goods has served well, with the two-way commerce increasing to nearly USD 80 billion in the Indian financial year ending March 2012, exceeding our target of USD 70 billion.

"I would like to inform Your Excellencies that India is prepared to conclude the Agreement on Trade in Services and Investment Promotion before the Commemorative Summit in Delhi in December. This will be a strong signal of our deepening economic engagement, and will allow for rapid expansion in trade and investment flows in both directions," Singh said.

The FTA in Goods was signed in 2009 but aspects related to Services and Investment were delayed due to strong differences between the two sides.

Singh, who was addressing the 10th Summit of the grouping, underlined that future of peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific requires increased cooperation and integration in the region.

"ASEAN has shown the way in this regard. We support the objectives of an ASEAN Community by 2015, the Initiative for ASEAN Integration and the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity," the Prime Minister said.


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