India & Malaysia to sign trade deal by 2010-end
India is all set to sign a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Malaysia by 2010-end. The agreement is expected to be signed when PM Manmohan Singh visits Malaysia later this year. The CECA will enhance the flow of trade and investment between these countries and ensure easier movements of professionals.
Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, who is leading an official delegation to Malaysia, said negotiations are moving in the right direction and hoped that will end soon. Five rounds of negotiations are over and the next round is scheduled to be in India between July 26-29, 2010. A 15-member CEO delegation from CII is accompanying Sharma.
Sharma called on Malaysian PM Mohd Najib Tun Razak and held discussion on issues like shared bilateral interest. PM Najib had earlier made a visit to India in January this year, which had seen India-Malaysia engagement being elevated to a strategic partnership. Sharma said PM Najib expressed a strong wish for an early conclusion of CECA with India.
Sharma hoped that the target of $15 billion trade between two countries would be met much earlier than 2015. Bilateral trade between India and Malaysia witnessed a healthy growth of 23.7% per annum between 1998 and 2008. However, in 2009, it witnessed a decline of 29% due to global economic turmoil. In 2009, trade between two countries amounted to $7.1 billion, with India’s export to Malaysia at $2.2 billion and import at $4.8 billion. However, in January-April, 2010, trade between two countries improved by 8.3%.
While PM Najib said Malaysia is keen to develop the knowledge-based industry in partnership with India and would like to see greater movements of Indian specialists and professionals towards this end, Sharma sought greater Malaysian investments in building physical infrastructure and the participation of Malaysian sovereign investment funds.
A number of Malaysian companies are already engaged in the construction of airports, road and mono-rail projects in India. Sharma said in the IT sector, already 63 Indian companies are operating in Malaysia. Malaysian professionals also visit India to get training at Infosys Technologies.
Earlier in the day, Sharma had delegation level talks with his counterpart — Malaysian minister Dato Sri Mustapa Muhamed. He was accompanied by commerce secretary Rahul Khullar and senior ministry officials.
During the meeting, both ministers reviewed the progress of CECA negotiations and agreed to conclude the agreement by year-end.
India, Malaysia to sign trade deal by 2010-end - India Business - Business - The Times of India