The first meeting of CEO's Forum will be held in India later this year: Sharma

India and Australia on Friday agreed to give a strong push to the ASEAN+6 process in an effort to take forward the economic integration in Asia. Both countries also reviewed the progress of the Indo-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Mr. Sharma met his Australian counterpart Craig Emerson at Manado in Indonesia on the sidelines of the ASEAN Economic Ministers+6 summit to discuss the bilateral trade relations between the two nations.

It was also decided that the first meeting of the Indo-Australia CEO's Forum will be held in India later this year. Mr. Sharma and Dr. Emerson reviewed the progress of Indo-Australia FTA negotiations. The first round of the negotiations was held in May. Both ministers agreed to give a strong push to the ASEAN+6 process and take forward economic integration in Asia.

Emerging from the bilateral meeting, Mr. Sharma expressed optimism on the East Asia Summit. “We consider the East Asia summit as an opportunity to establish a regional architecture for cooperation, connectivity and future integration which will bring about a strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth in the region. For this we need to pursue the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) vigorously.''

The Commerce Minister also took stock of the Doha round during the meeting with Dr. Emerson. “All of us have been active participants at the WTO with the common goal of early conclusion of the Doha Round. India supports a balanced, comprehensive and development-centric outcome,'' he remarked.

The Commerce Minister noted the significant increase in trade and investment between ASEAN and India in 2010. Trade between India and ASEAN increased by 24 per cent to $51.3 billion in 2010. India's exports grew at 33 per cent at $23.1 billion while imports from ASEAN increased by 18 per cent to $28.2 billion. Foreign direct investment inflows from ASEAN reached $14.25 billion in May and accounted for 10.36 per cent of India's total FDI.

More In: Economy | Business