New Delhi, Aug 28 : India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Thursday successfully concluded six years of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at Singapore.
The formal FTA covering trade in goods will be signed by leaders at the ASEAN-India Summit scheduled for December in Bangkok.
During a joint press conference of India-ASEAN economic ministers, Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said, "It took six years for India to understand the sensitivities of ASEAN, and for the ASEAN to understand the sensitivities of India."
"The FTA is a major step towards the stalled Doha Round negotiations, which have been in discussions for seven years," he added.
India negotiated the FTA with each of the ASEAN member countries based on their trade pattern. It is to be effective from January 2009.
The FTA will boost the India-ASEAN trade to 50 billion dollars by 2010, up from 30 billion dollars as end of 2007.
India is also expected to commence negotiations on services and investment pact with the 10-member country ASEAN soon.
Under the pact, India and ASEAN will eliminate import duties on 71 per cent of products by 31 December 2012 and another 9 per cent by 2015.
Duties on 8 to 10 per cent of the products that have been kept in the sensitive list will also be brought down to five per cent.