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Written by: Staff

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 (Reuters) India expects to attract between $4 billion and $5 billion of investments in its special economic zones by December 2007, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday.

Nath, who is in Malaysia for talks with the ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said he expected the zones would generate new revenue of the order of $9 billion for the government, which announced revised rules for the economic zones this week.

''We see an investment by December 2007 of something like about four to five billion dollars,'' Nath told Reuters in an interview, adding that the zones would not be concentrated in a particular geographic zone, but spread across India.

''These are proposals by a developer, so it's for states to build the confidence in developers and in industries to come there,'' he said.

''Investment cannot be mandated, it's got to be attracted. You cannot drive anybody to a particular place. They must be able to attract them.'' India now has 15 SEZs, each of size 200 acres on average, which the government says have attracted investments worth 22 billion rupees and given employment to about 110,000 people. The government has approved as many as 164 more.

($1=46.53 rupees) REUTERS SRS RN1905

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