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Japan may begin FTA talks with India as early as summer - report

(AFX UK Focus) 2006-02-26

Japan may begin FTA talks with India as early as summer - report

TOKYO (AFX) - The government will possibly this summer enter into negotiations with India on a bilateral economic partnership treaty, of which a free trade agreement (FTA) would form the core, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, citing government sources.

If held, the talks would be the first of their kind for Japan with one of the major newly-emerging economies, referred to as the BRICs — Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The move follows a joint study launched in July by government, business and academic groups from both countries to explore the feasibility of an FTA. The parties are expected to produce a report in June designed to facilitate the conclusion of a bilateral FTA, the sources said.

In the upcoming talks, Japan will likely seek a cut in tariffs on Japanese autoparts and other goods to be exported to India, as well as changes in regulations to promote Japanese investment in the South Asian country, including a guarantee that investment by local and Japanese companies there will be treated equally.

India, for its part, will likely call on Japan to ease its regulations on accepting IT-related engineers and doctors. It is also expected to ask Tokyo to scrap tariffs on imports of apparel and other Indian goods.

 source: AFX