India, Japan conclude talks on economic partnership agreement


Tokyo: India and Japan Monday announced that they had concluded negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), a development Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described as a “historic achievement”.

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CEPA would be signed at the earliest at the ministerial level as soon as formalities were completed, a joint declaration by Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan stated.

“India and Japan have succeeded in rendering the India-Japan CEPA truly comprehensive, as indicated by its name, by including fields that range from trade in goods, investment, trade in services, to intellectual property, competition, improvement of the business environment, bilateral cooperation and so forth,” the joint declaration by the two leaders said.

In their view, CEPA would elevate the strategic and global partnership between India and Japan to a new level as well as develop areas of potential mutual complementarity.

Welcoming the development, Manmohan Singh said in a statement that CEPA was a “historical achievement that signals the economic alignment of two of the largest economies in Asia”. Looking forward, he said it would open up new business opportunities and lead to a quantum increase in trade and investment flows between the two countries.

In Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s words, the all-encompassing CEPA was the future of India-Japan relations.

A ministerial level economic dialogue between India and Japan is also on the cards. The idea, Rao told reporters, was proposed by Japan and welcomed by India. This is the structure of dialogue that Japan has with China too.