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FTA Protocol Likely With Thailand

Financial Express, India

FTA Protocol Likely With Thailand

NEW DELHI, AUG 29 : India and Thailand will sign on Monday, a protocol to pave the way for establishing a free trade area between the two nations by 2010.

The protocol will operationalise ‘early harvest scheme’ under which the two countries will bring down tariffs to zero per cent by September 2006 in three phases on 82 items.

The protocol would also contain an annexure on rules of origin to ensure that goods from third countries are not diverted in to India. Thailand has FTA with China and Australia.

Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath and Thai commerce minister Watana Muangsook would sign the protocol.

Early harvest scheme marks implementation of first phase of FTA wherein tarrifs are reduced on select items. The tarrifs would be brought down by 50 per cent in first year, 75 per cent in second year on 82 items.

From 2006, both countries will have a duty free trade regime on 82 items. Second phase of FTA will begin after that for both nations to have a free trade area by 2010.

The 82 items on which tariffs are to be reduced include gear boxes, television picture tubes, wrist watches, parts of seats, refrigerators, textile spindles, spinning rings, flyers, machinery for moulding, pipes, boiler shells, ball bearings, fly wheels, pulleys, signalling equipments and printed circuits.