India, ASEAN to sign FTA by March

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New Delhi, Jan 23: Commerce Secretary G K Pillai today said India will sign the free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) by March this year and it will come into effect by January 2009. ''We hope to conclude negotiations with ASEAN by March and the agreement will come into effect by January 2009,'' Mr Pillai told reporters here.

This will bring the tariff down on 73 per cent of tradeable items, he added. The country is also negotiating FTAs with the European Union, South Korea and Japan which are expected to be concluded by next year end. ''We are negotiating similar pacts with the European Union, South Korea and Japan. We are hopeful that we will conclude the agreements by end of 2009,'' Mr Pillai said.

UNI

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