India-Japan conclude negotiations on CEPA, but agreement not to be signed during PM's visit

New Delhi, Oct.22 (ANI): India and Japan will announce the conclusion of negotiations of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's three-day visit to Japan which begins on Monday. However, the final agreement will not be signed during the visit.

"The negotiations on CEPA have concluded. There is a fairly lengthy complex "legal scrubbing" taking place on both sides," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here today while briefing them about Prime Minister's forthcoming three nation trip to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

"The agreement signifies the economic alignment of two of the largest economies in Asia and would lead to a marked increase in our business and economic ties," Nirupama Rao said and described the CEPA as "a win-win proposition" for both countries.

India has already signed similar CEPA agreement with Singapore and South Korea.

The purview of Agreement with Japan is wide-ranging and comprehensive which includes market access, tariffs, trade in services and investments.

The CEPA agreement between the two countries has concluded following over twelve rounds of negotiations.

Once the free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Japan is operationalised, as many 9,000 products-ranging from steel and apparel to drugs and machinery are expected to be traded either without duty or at substantially reduced tariffs.

The pact would keep a number of items, sensitive to the agriculture and employment-oriented sectors, out of the purview of both the countries.

Each side will have a negative list of items on which duties will not be reduced. India's list would be bigger, with 8 per cent of the tradable items under the pact included in it while Japan would skirt about 3 per cent of its merchandise.

Expressing satisfaction over conclusion of the negotiations of CEPA , Nirupama Rao said the Japanese Ambassador to India and foreign ministry have explained that "there is a certain procedure we have to go through , in diplomacy you have to deal with realities."

Manmohan Singh will hold wide-ranging talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan in Tokyo on Monday and will also call on the Emperor and Empress.

"They will also discuss Japanese involvement in major infrastructure development projects in India, such as the Dedicated Freight Corridor and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor," Nirupama Rao informed. (ANI)

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