India, Japan to swap Cepa negative lists at Tokyo meet
Manufacturing Goods And Many Agricultural Items Expected To Feature In List INDIA is firming up the negative list for its comprehensive economic partnership agreement (Cepa) with Japan. Officials from both the countries are scheduled to meet in Tokyo later this month to take the talks forward and exchange preliminary negative list of items to be excluded from the agreement. While the two sides initially wanted to implement the Cepa by 2007 end, the change in government in Japan and the complicated issues involved in the negotiations delayed the talks. Speaking to ET, official sources said both the governments were now in a hurry to move things fast and conclude talks this year. “The Tokyo meeting will be important as both sides are expected to exchange their preliminary negative lists,” an official said. Manufacturing goods such as automobiles and electronics and many agricultural items are expected to feature in the negative list. Unctad has prepared a tentative negative list for the Cepa and Ficci is holding talks with industry to get their views on the negative list. A negative list is an important part of a free trade agreement as it includes the items that are sensitive for the domestic economy and are to be insulated from tariff cuts under the agreement. According to Ficci officials, talks have been held with industry representatives from the eastern and southern parts in Ranchi and Chennai. Consultations are scheduled in Delhi, Mumbai and Guwahati later this month. The commerce department is scheduled to hold a meeting with the industry on March 13 to get its feedback on sensitive products and the products of interest to the country. The feedback will be used by the department to prepare its strategy for the joint task force meeting beginning on Mach 24 in Tokyo. Both sides want to increase bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2010 from the existing $7.5 billion.