News

Japan, India Pursue Sweeping Trade Pact

Japan and India are pledging to substantially increase trade, with a special emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses. Officials of both countries, meeting in Japan, are preparing for negotiations on an economic partnership agreement.

Indian officials visiting here say they will soon start negotiating with Japan on a sweeping economic partnership agreement.

The proposed pact - which officials say would be more comprehensive than a free trade agreement - is meant to substantially boost the relatively paltry $5 billion in annual trade between India and Japan.

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has spent this week meeting with Japanese officials. On Friday, he told reporters that a natural combination would be India's skilled engineers and technicians utilizing Japanese technology.

"Japan has a much higher age profile. Japan has a shrinking work force. India has a large, skilled and young work force," said Nath. "The work force of India and the technology and innovation of Japan creates a willing partnership."

The commerce minister says he particularly wants to attract small and medium-sized Japanese enterprises to India. He says infrastructure improvements and deregulation are high priorities for his government in the effort to double Indian-Japanese trade in three years.

Indian officials also announced a plan to create an 800-hectare industrial park in their country, as the centerpiece of what would effectively be a small Japanese city. The community would be complete with state-of-the art health care, schools, restaurants and entertainment catering to expatriates from Japan.

Japanese trading company Mitsui is drawing up the plan and the Indian government will help to acquire the land, once a location has been found.

India wants to have the economic partnership agreement ready for signing when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Japan, a trip tentatively scheduled for December.

One of the most difficult areas for the agreement will involve - as it does with any such deal with Japan - agriculture.

Nath says India understands Japan's sensitivities in the sector, but many agriculture products from his country should not pose concern, because they are not widely grown in Japan.

"The mangoes do not affect the Japanese farmer," said Nath. "Similarly, there are many areas in herbs and spices which don't affect the Japanese farmer. Some of the fruits and vegetables don't affect the Japanese farmer. There are so many areas which have no sensitivities and, in the end, will do good to the Japanese consumer. The Japanese consumer will have a wider choice."

Japan is the fourth largest foreign investor in India. Tokyo has been seeking better relations with New Delhi as a counterweight to China's growing ties with India.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs