India, Asean likely to sign FTA in August

India and the 10-nation Asean are likely to sign the long-delayed free trade agreement in services and investments later this month when their economic and trade ministers meet here.

Foreign Ministers of all Asean countries as well External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj have hoped that the pact will be finally signed during the four-day-long meeting of Economic Trade Ministers of India and Asean beginning August 25. Seeking better ties with India, the grouping after the India- Asean Foreign Ministers meeting, here said it was looking forward to signing of the Asean -India Free Trade Agreement in services and investment later this month.

Swaraj had also hoped that the free trade agreement with Asean will be signed soon which will spur trade ties between the two sides. The Indian government has already approved the pact in December last year.

The agreement will boost movement of Indian professionals in the Asean region besides facilitating investments. The India- Asean Trade in Goods Agreement was signed in August 2009 and it had come into force in 2010.

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