CEPA may be approved by Japanese Parliament by June-end: Saiki

India and Japan signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement in February which is expected to give greater market access to both countries and "the agreement is awaiting approval in Diet (Japanese Parliament). It will be submitted to the Diet shortly and we hope the approval is given in the current session by the end of June," Saiki said during his maiden visit to the city.

The agreement is expected to ensure market access for India's pharmaceutical industry. Japan had assured to give the same treatment for Indian generics as their domestic industry.

The agreement between the two countries covers trade in goods, services and investment and is expected to reduce tariffs in about 90 per cent of the trade in the next 10 years as both Japan and India seek to diversify trade and ensure greater market access within Asia, Saiki said.

The pact between the two countries is to ensure that the sensitive sectors for India are fully protected. These include agriculture, fruits, spices, wheat, basmati rice, edible oils, wines and spirits and also certain categories of industrial products such as auto and auto parts, he said.

Saiki, who is on a three day business visit to the city, addressed the citizens of Mumbai at the Observer Research Foundation in South Mumbai last evening.

Speaking on the Indo-Japanese economic relationship, he said although trade between the two countries is expected to double in the next five years, the total trade in 2009 was very modest at USD 12.5 billion.

It is unthinkable that foreign direct investment to India from Japan was only USD 10 billion considering the size of the Indian economy, he said adding that, "We need to improve in both export and investment," he said.

About the presence of Japanese industries in India, he said in 2009 there were 362 and in 2010 it almost doubled at 725.

"We expect the figures to go up," he said adding he has been meeting with Indian industry leaders in the city.

Saiki said the massive earthquake that hit Japan recently will have no bearing on the country's investment in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial corridor (DMIC) project.

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