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India Seeks Industry Input On FTA Talks With Eurasian Economic Union

Updated: May 11, 2024 04:42:05pm

India Seeks Industry Input On FTA Talks With Eurasian Economic Union

New Delhi, May 11 (KNN) The Indian government has initiated the process of seeking inputs from domestic industries as it gears up for formal talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the five-nation Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) bloc.

An Indian official confirmed that preliminary discussions have taken place between the two sides for the proposed trade pact, prompting the government to request industries to identify products and sectors where India aims to achieve self-reliance.

The government has asked firms to highlight any trade barriers they currently face in the EAEU markets comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.

While sectors like engineering goods, electronics, and agriculture are anticipated to benefit from the FTA, India wants to tread cautiously in sensitive areas like dairy and agriculture where it may have reservations about offering greater market access.

"There are certain products with low-negotiation prospects where we have concerns on giving market access. Dairy and agricultural products are one such sticky agenda in many FTAs," said an industry representative.

A key concern for New Delhi is the wide trade deficit with the EAEU bloc, which stood at USD 48 billion during April-January of the current fiscal year, primarily driven by crude oil imports from Russia.

Moreover, the EAEU's existing FTAs with China, Vietnam, Serbia, and Iran could potentially impact the competitiveness of Indian exports in those markets once the India-EAEU FTA comes into force.

According to a joint feasibility study, India's export potential to the EAEU is estimated to be between USD 14 billion and USD 24 billion.

Currently, India's top exports to the bloc include medicines, telephones, shrimps and prawns, auto components, and steel products, while its major imports are coal, petroleum, diamonds, fertilisers, and metals.

(KNN Bureau)


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