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ASEAN, India to improve trade
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08:22, February 15, 2008

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Laos is hosting the 19th ASEAN-India Trade Negotiation Meeting as a forum for officials from both sides to reach solutions to trade barriers that exist between the two major trading partners, Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Thursday.

During the three-day meeting starting on Feb. 13, the officials from India and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to reach an agreement on possible models of trade between member countries.

The completed draft of a new trade model agreement will be reviewed and signed by both the ASEAN and Indian economic ministers at their informal meeting to be held in May.

The officials are also to discuss the draft of a treaty on trade in goods, and an agreement that addresses problems associated with the validation of certificates of product origin. They are hoped to negotiate the opening up of trade in service and investment.

Their discussions form part of ongoing activities relating to ASEAN-India free trade negotiations.

The volume of trade and investment currently flowing between ASEAN countries -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- and India remains relatively low compared with their other dialogue partners in the region.

India accounts for less than 2 percent of the ASEAN's total trade and 0.2 percent of foreign direct investment in the region, said the newspaper.


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