The Star | Wednesday December 19, 2012
Asean-India FTA likely to be finalised at summit
By TEH ENG HOCK
NEW DELHI: The long awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Asean and India in the services and investment sectors will most likely be finalised at the summit here.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said negotiations were at the final stages, with only a couple of disagreements left.
The negotiations were expected to conclude last year, but dragged due to hurdles, he told Malaysian media here.
However, there has been much progress since the Asean Summit in Phnom Penh last month, with Asean leaders extending their commitment to the FTA.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is leading the Malaysian delegation to the two-day summit.
Mustapa said even if the FTA negotiations were concluded at this summit, it could only be signed at the next summit next year due to regulatory procedures.
Malaysia is the coordinating country for the FTA, and had successfully concluded the trade-in-goods sector of the Asean-India FTA in 2010.
"The FTA will give us access to 1.8 billion people, comprising 600 million in South East Asia and 1.2 billion in India," said Mustapa.