'Singapore to help devp trade with East Asia'

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Singapore, May 6: India uses Singapore as a major trading partner and a strong base to further develop trade with East Asia, including China, Satinder K Lambah, Special Envoy of Prime Minister of India, said here today.

Addressing a press conference after the two-day inaugural private-sector led India-Singapore Strategic Dialogue (ISSD), Mr Lambah pointed out that India has doubled its bilateral trade with Singapore to 24 billion dollars within the last three years and the trade with China has ballooned to 40 billion dollars. ''But India and Singapore are not stopping at this and will continue to further increase trade relations and promote businesses within the two countries as well as the East Asian region,'' Mr Lambah stressed. He disclosed that the ISSD meeting further explored the potential of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between the two countries to strengthen the 'problem-free' relations.

Mr Lambah also noted Singapore's support for accelerating India's free trade agreement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a major move to continue New Delhi's push to spread India's reach to the East Asian markets.

He also reaffirmed that the surge of Indian and Chinese economies were complimenting and not adversaries. Trade relations and investments between India and China were increasing, he pointed out, underlining the need for the two giant economies to support the East Asian region.

Mr Lambah led a 12-member delegation to the ISSD, the second round of which will be held in New Delhi next February. The delegation will call on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong tomorrow before leaving for home.


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