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RTA to secure tariff cuts & greater access
Mar '08
The government advised industry to come up with an “offensive” list of items of export interest to India in trade with Japan to strengthen the Commerce Ministry's hands in getting tariffs reduced by Japan in the negotiations for the India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Addressing the fifth and final Workshop on Stakeholder Consultation on India-Japan CEPA, Mr. Prashant Goyal, Director, Ministry of Commerce & Industry said: “The experience of the Commerce Ministry is that industry is forthcoming on the “defence” list of items that need to be protected from Japanese imports, but rarely does it take an “offensive” stance and come up with specific items of export interest to India.”

This, he said, was vital as the basic purpose of Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) was to secure tariff reduction in the export destination and get greater market access. The workshop was organized by FICCI, UNCTAD and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Goyal said tariffs in Japan are already low. Thus, a crucial determinant in greater market access for Indian products in the Japanese market would be the ability of the Commerce Ministry to reduce the non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

“We are trying to set up a separate NTB Forum to deal with non-tariff issues, but the Japanese side is not enthused in discussing general issues.”

Therefore it was imperative for industry to identify specific NTBs so that negotiations for their removal could be taken up in earnest.

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