Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement comes into force from Monday

India and Japan on Monday asserted that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which came in to force from Monday, would give a big boost to bilateral trade, enabling it to touch the $25-billion mark by 2014.

Immediately after the first meeting of the Joint Committee of India-Japan CEPA here, Japanese Ambassador Akitaka Saiki said business communities of the two countries should make the best use of this new economic arrangement. “This arrangement will definitely facilitate and enhance both ways flow of trade and investment,'' Mr. Saiki said.

Good for commerce

“CEPA comes into force with effect from Monday. It will be good for commerce, trade and investment for India and Japan. It is a part of the building block for much large agenda for building a comprehensive economic partnership for East Asia, which covers ASEAN, China, Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand,'' Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters here.

Officials said CEPA would bring immediate gains to exporters of textiles, seafood and spices to Japan, as duties on these products would be eliminated. It would ultimately result in the removal of duties on almost 90 per cent of the products traded between the countries.

Other sectors that would gain from the pact include agricultural products such as mangoes, citrus fruit, spices and instant tea, spirits, chemicals, cement and jewellery.

Under CEPA, duties will be brought to zero in ten years on 66.32 per cent of the products traded between the nations.

The exclusion list of Japan (where no duty concessions are proposed) mainly consists of items such as rice, wheat, oil, milk, sugar, leather and leather products.

On the other hand, India will not reduce duties on sectors like auto and agriculture. Further, the Japanese government should accord no less favourable treatment to the applications of Indian companies than it accords to the like applications of its own persons for drug registration. This will greatly help Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Under the new arrangement, Indian professionals will be able to provide their services and contribute toward further development of IT sector of Japan. Mr. Khullar co-chaired the first meeting of the Joint Committee with Mr. Saiki. The current bilateral trade is a little over $12.6 billion and it is aimed to touch $25 billion by 2014.

More In: Economy | Business | National | News