India Russia to start trade agreement negotiations

India and Russia have announced that they have decided to start negotiations to draw up a trade agreement between the two nations.

The agreement has been termed as a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, which indicates that it won’t be as radical as a Free Trade Agreement, but slightly short of it. Such agreements bring down import tariffs between the nations and increase the flow of goods and services.

“This economic cooperation can no longer be limited to purchase of defense equipment or investment in oil and gas, although these are highly valued by both countries, but must extend beyond government to government trade and investment. Our common target is to achieve USD 20 billion in trade by 2015,” said Anand Sharma, India’s trade minister.

India already has trade agreements with Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore and is in talks with the European Union and several others.

The two countries also decided to set up a two million tonnes a year (MTPA) iron and steel plant near Bellary in Karnataka.