INDO-JAPAN TRADE TALKS IN SEPTEMBER 2008Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry has expressed hope that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) could be concluded during the next round of talks which are scheduled to be held in New Delhi in September 2008.
Stating this when Mr Masahiko Koumura, the Japanese Foreign Minister called on him here today, Shri Kamal Nath expressed hope that these talks will lead to a comprehensive mutually advantageous agreement covering all the issues of trade in goods, services, investment and other areas of economic engagement. Observing that India and Japan do not have conflicting trade interests, Shri Nath added that India’s exports basket mainly consists of primary products while the Japanese exports are mostly of manufactured goods and electronic items. India can be an efficient supplier of a number of items such as fruits and vegetables and marine products which Japan already imports in large quantity.
While thanking the Japanese Government for allowing market access for Indian mangoes, Shri Kamal Nath expressed hope that Japan will be willing to address all the related issues and find permanent solution to these as offered by India in the last round of talks in Tokyo so that the gains of elimination of tariffs under the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement are not neutralized by nullifying meaningful market access for Indian products in the Japanese market.
He further stated that India would also highly appreciate Japanese willingness to open more and more of its services sector, especially Mode-1 (cross-border trade) and Mode-4 (movement of natural persons). “Our areas of interest include professional and computer-related services, accounting, auditing, and book keeping services; architectural services; engineering services; medical and dental services; advertising services, and services for telecommunication and audio-visual communication.”, he added.
The total trade volume between India and Japan has touched 9.9 billion USD in the year 2007-08. This amounts to a growth of about 25% over the trade volume achieved last year. The average growth rate in the last 4 years has been about 20%. This is an improvement over the previous years, but it is still below the potential that exists for increased trade between the two countries. Indian imports from Japan mainly consist of machinery and electronic goods while the exports are mainly of gems and jewellery, petroleum products and iron ore.