Monday, July 07, 2008

S'pore, India to double bilateral trade

By Ravi Velloor, India Bureau Chief

NEW DELHI - SINGAPORE and India agreed yesterday to double bilateral trade to S$48 billion by 2012, counting on the gains both nations are seeing from a landmark trade and investment treaty they signed three years ago.

Their trade ministers also agreed to launch new areas of cooperation, beginning with science and technology, intellectual property rights and the media.

The enhanced trade target was the highlight of talks here yesterday between visiting Singapore Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang and his Indian counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath.

Much of the impetus for the ever-expanding commercial contacts has come since the two signed their Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca) in June 2005.

According to Mr Nath, Singapore is now India's fifth largest trading partner and fourth largest export market for goods.

Last year, trade between the two economies amounted to S$24 billion. Singapore and India now plan to launch a full review of the Ceca early next year to intensify their relationship.

India has of late emerged as a key destination for global capital. Some US$25 billion (S$34.3 billion) of foreign direct investment poured into India in the year to March 31.

Mr Nath said Singapore is the fourth largest investor in India, with US$4.7 billion of cumulative foreign direct investments since economic reforms began in 1991.

Malaysia is leading Asean's negotiations with New Delhi on an Asean-India free trade agreement.

The FTA has suffered several delays because of India's sensitivities on various commodities, including palm oil. Mr Lim said Indonesia and Malaysia had moved considerably to remove the obstacles to clinching the deal.

India hopes to announce the conclusion of the FTA negotiations at the Asean economic ministers meeting in August, Mr Nath said.

Link: Singapore and India explore ways to boost multiple links (7 May 2008)
Link: India - Singapore Economic and Commercial Relations (Look at nature of exports and imports)
Link: Singapore and Free Trade Agreements

1. Discuss the factors that have led to the success of the trade and investment treaty signed between Singapore and India.

2. Suggest possible areas (in terms of investment and trade) in which Singapore could cooperate with India.

3. Why would a similar agreement between India and Asean (including Malaysia) be harder to reach, than that between India and Singapore?


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