India eyes trade pact with Eurasia customs union

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) India, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are exploring the possibilities for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Viktor Khristenko, chairperson of Eurasian Economic Commission, Tuesday agreed to start negotiations for the agreement during a bilateral meeting here.

“India is of the view that the need for CECA with the customs union, comprising Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, is a well established concept. We have expressed our desire to begin the negotiations for it,” Sharma said after the meeting.

Sharma suggested setting up a joint study group for the comprehensive economic pact.

“Both sides agreed to discuss the terms of reference for the joint study group, composition of joint study group and fixing the time frames for the submission of the joint study group report in June 2013 when Sharma visits St. Petersburg for the International Economic Forum,” India’s commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

It said meetings between ministers from all the concerned countries were being worked out.

India’s total trade with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan increased to $7.43 billion in 2012 from $6.54 billion in the previous year.

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