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Bulk of foreign trade to be free from barriers soon

Business Standard, India

Bulk of foreign trade to be free from barriers soon

Press Trust of India / Mumbai

9 February 2010

As much as 60-70 per cent of India’s global trade would be free from duty barriers or attract lesser levies in the coming two-three years, a Commerce Minister official said today.

India has recently concluded Free Trade Agreements with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea.

The country is negotiating similar trade-opening agreements with the Europen Union, Gulf states, Japan, Switzerland, Norway and Namibia, Director in the Commerce Ministry Ajay Shrivastava said at a function of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce here.

"In the next two-three-years, we will collaborate with a number of countries for FTAs and expand relationship," he said.

Shrivastava said, at present, only 10 per cent of India’s trade is availing the benefits of the free trade.

The country’s merchandise trade totalled $470 billion in 2008-09.

Shrivastava said there is a huge potential to increase cross-border investment as well as services exports. It was essential that investment and services, particularly IT, film and education are included in the trade