Not yet time to conduct official FTA talks with India: MOEA

posted 8-March-2011

Focus Taiwan News Channel

Not yet time to conduct official FTA talks with India: MOEA

8 March 2011

By Lin Shu-yuan and Lilian Wu

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) The Ministry of Economic Affairs said Tuesday that now is not the time to engage in official talks on the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) with India.

The ministry said it has commissioned the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) , a local think tank, to conduct a feasibility study to learn about the differences in the trading systems in Taiwan and India, an economics official said.

"The feasibility analyses carried out by the CIER and by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) are different from government-to-government feasibility studies, "the official said.

He pointed out as an example that the governments of Taiwan and Singapore announced in August that they were carrying out a feasibility study on an economic partnership agreement between Singapore and Taiwan, which is more advanced than the non-official talks with India.

He said that since both Taiwan and India have asked only private think tanks to conduct the feasibility studies, the two sides will need more time to carry out assessments before official talks can even start.

His words came one day after India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told a delegation of Taiwanese journalists in New Delhi that the CIER and the ICRIER are jointly assessing the possibility of a Taiwan-India FTA.

Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary for East Asia of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, predicted that the feasibility study will take one year.

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