Seeking to put the trade relations between the two countries on a fast track, India and Singapore on Tuesday decided to double their trade in the next five years from $16 billion to $32 billion.

India also asked Singapore to recognise its professionals, such as doctors, nurses, accountants and architects in Singapore. Both the countries also launched the second review of the India-Singapore free trade and services agreement officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

India also signed a pact with Singapore for greater market access for its generic (off-patent) drugs in the Southeast Asian nation. The two countries also set new targets for their economic engagement in terms of further removing trade barriers and encouraging the flow of people from one country to the other.

Addressing a joint press conference with visiting Singapore Trade and Industry Minister, Lim Hng Kiang, and Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, said, “We have agreed to work towards doubling bilateral trade from $16 billion to $32 billion by 2015.

Mr. Sharma said officials from the two sides would meet every quarter to complete the second review in a time-bound manner.

Officials would also work to expedite the conclusion of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for dental, medical, nursing, architecture, accountancy and company secretary professionals.

The two Ministers also agreed to establish an India-Singapore CEOs Forum to enhance business activities.

Mr. Sharma said India offered enormous investment opportunities in the infrastructure sector, especially the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project.

Both signed a ‘Special scheme for registration of generic medicinal products from India' that seeks to fast-track the registration process for domestic off-patent medicines in that country.

The pact would help create new opportunities for the $25-billion Indian generic medicine market in Singapore. With the arrival of Indian generic drugs in the global market, the cost of life-saving medicines had come down significantly and helped people in African and Latin American nations, Mr. Sharma added.

Mr. Lim said if an Indian generic drug had been cleared in the U.S., Canada, EU, the U.K. or Australia, Singapore would allow it into its market. “Accordingly, the registration process will become faster,” he said.

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