India to Continue Work on Free Trade Agreements

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Feb. 15 – The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor says India will continue to work on free trade agreements as well as concluding comprehensive economic cooperation agreements with countries with whom the economic engagement is substantive.

Inaugurating an international conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Asian trade hosted by the Asian Development Dialogue, a new platform for debating issues pertaining to governance, development, industry and commerce, Mr. Tharoor said that in today’s era, the country has to take into account the changing world economic scenario and equip itself appropriately.

K. P. Kannan, professor of development economics at the Center for Development Studies told The HinduBusinessLine that India is ably positioned to take advantage of the tectonic shift in the world trade sweepstakes in which the east was increasingly getting prominence. Growth is building around the Japan-China-India axis, though China’s explosive growth in trade in merchandise goods and services has helped it muscle its way past the other two.

According to Mr. Anushka Wijesinha of the Sri Lanka-based Institute of Policy Studies, the expectation that Asian countries may lead the world out of recession is not supported by empirical evidence. Despite strong domestic growth within Asia, individual countries still looked to the United State and the European Union as major export destinations for sustaining the growth. They would be well advised to develop intra-regional trade and even intra-industry trade through better trade facilitation, harmonized trade regime and competitive value-addition.