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India, Russia to work on FTA with Customs Union

Posted on Feb 26 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 26 : With agreement to begin work on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Customs Union (CU) - Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia - India has asked Russia to steer the process within the Eurasian Economic Commission.

"Keeping in view of the support of the Russian side on the idea of setting up a JSG (joint study group) for a CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement or FTA) between India and the CU, the Russian side was requested to steer the process within the Eurasian Economic Commission," said a statement by India's commerce ministry following a meeting here between Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

The Eurasian Economic Commission is the permanent regulatory agency of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Community.

The Customs Union formally came into existence in 2010 with the implementation of the common economic space that provides for free movement of goods, services and people.

Under the CECA, the two sides aim to reduce duties on the maximum number of tradable goods, besides liberalising norms for service and investments. The CECA would also facilitate the movement of professionals.

Some Indian products have cleared market access issues in the Custom Union, the statement added.

"The Russian side also conveyed the resolution of issues pertaining to market access of egg powder. They informed that Indian entities have started getting the nod for export of egg powder for the Custom Union markets," the commerce ministry said.

"The Russian side also assured to expeditiously resolve the issue of recognition of government approved Indian labs for enabling export of bovine meat from India", it added.

Both sides also reviewed the progress of "identified priority projects" that include setting up an Indo-Russian company for manufacturing Ka-226T light helicopters and construction of a plant with 100,000 tons per annum capacity for making butyl rubber in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

The two countries have set a target of achieving bilateral trade of USD 20 billion by 2015.

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