Decision to enter FTAs only after safeguarding interests of indu

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) Any decision to enter into Free Trade Agreements with other countries will be done only after taking into consideration the interests of all sectors of Industry, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jairam Ramesh told the Rajya Sabha today.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, the Minister said the decision to enter into an FTA with a country is taken by the Government after a great deal of consideration.

In this context, he said that the Government has been negotiating and FTA with ASEAN for the past three and a half years. If it has not yet been finalised, it is because the Government wants to take into account its effect on the SMEs and other sectors.

The Minister said India has signed FTAs with Sri Lanka, Singapore, Nepal and Bhutan. It has also signed South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) have been signed with Afghanistan, Chile and Mercosur, and is also a signatory to the regional preferential trading agreements.

He said at present, FTAs with 11 countries were under nogotiation while that with seven others were under consideration.

The Minister said that in all the FTAs under negotiation, Agricultural items were under the negative list.

''There is no cosideration of liberalising trade of agricultural commodities,''Mr Ramesh said.

UNI

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