Zee News (India)
India-Japan resolve sticky trade issue ahead of PM`s visit
New Delhi, Dec 05: India and Japan have resolved nagging differences related to agriculture, paving the way for launch of negotiations on an economic partnership agreement (EPA) during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Tokyo in the second week of this month.
"Earlier, Japan wanted agriculture to be kept out of EPA but now it has agreed to include it. With this sticky issue having been resolved negotiations will now be launched," official sources said.
The inclusion of agriculture allows both countries to open up markets for substantial number of tariff lines for each other.
According to trade experts, coverage of agriculture within the EPA is a breakthrough since Japan has all along remained defensive in the farm sector, which it has protected by high tariff walls.
Apart from trade in agriculture and manufactured goods, the agreement would cover services and investments.
The agreement could also be in the form of comprehensive economic partnership agreement, sources said.
The Prime Minister will be visiting Tokyo from December 13 to 16 in the second leg of his South-East Asia and Japan tour after attending the Asean summit in The Philippines.
Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath will be accompanying the Prime Minister during his visit.
The government hopes that the EPA, negotiations for which are likely to be concluded in two years, is likely to boost trade and investment flows.
So far, bilateral trade has remained stagnant at six billion dollars, while with China it is expected to touch 20 billion dollars this year.