May 2, 2005
Early Harvest Programme Under India-Asean Fta May be Dropped
NEW DELHI, May 2 Asia Pulse - The much-hyped India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement may not include the Early Harvest Programme with government considering a proposal about whether to adopt a full-fledged FTA.
A proposal in this regard is being considered by the Commerce Ministry, which, while favouring it, has linked it to finalisation of Rules Of Origin (ROO).
A final decision in this regard would be taken by the Cabinet, official sources said.
A full-fledged FTA with ASEAN was scheduled to become operational by 2009 with Early Harvest, the first phase of the FTA, to have come into effect from April 1.
However, with this proposal the date for the FTA may be advanced.
Commerce Ministry, which wanted to follow a common ROO model in all its FTA negotiations in the region, had set up an expert group to look into the matter.
The group’s views on this would also be sent to the Cabinet along with the proposal.
ROO with ASEAN have been agreed at 40 per cent value addition only, thus making them more liberal than those with other trading partners like Thailand, Singapore, SAFTA where the criterion also included change in tariff head besides 40 per cent value-addition.