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Indo-Singaporean trade pact by April

Our Bureau

Mr Tong said the agreement would cover a broad spectrum of areas, including goods, services, investments and air services. "With the agreement, Singapore can act as a catalyst for India's economic reform process," he said.


(From left) Mr Rajender Darda, Minister of State for Home, Maharashtra Government, with Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister for Transport, Singapore Government, and Mr Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Gateway Distripaks Ltd, at a function to commission the phase 3 of Gateway Distriparks Dronagiri operations near Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. — Paul Noronha

Mumbai , Nov. 12

BI-LATERAL trade between India and Singapore is set to surge with the two countries scheduled to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) by April, according to Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Singapore Minister for Transport.

Inaugurating the third phase expansion of Gateway Distriparks Ltd, an Indo-Singapore joint venture company engaged in providing total logistics solutions, Mr Tong said the on-going discussions for drafting the agreement was "progressing well".

He was confident that the Prime Ministers of the two countries would sign the "landmark agreement" by April.

According to him, the agreement would cover a broad spectrum of areas, including goods, services, investments and air services. "With the agreement, Singapore can act as a catalyst for India's economic reform process," he said.

Mr Tong said bi-lateral trade between Singapore and India has been strong, nearly touching the $ 4-billion mark in 2002. Currently, India is Singapore's 15th largest trading partner, he said. Singapore has also been an active investor in the country, with cumulative investments totalling $ 1.4 billion, covering sectors ranging from logistics and industrial parks to telecommunications, he added.

Later talking to presspersons, he said the CECA would go even beyond the Free Trade Agreement regime in boosting bi-lateral trade between the two countries.

Replying to a question, he said the Singapore Changi Airport Enterprise was looking for possible investments in the Delhi and Mumbai airport development projects. "Changi airport officials have already visited India and we had talks with the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Once bids are invited (for development of the two airports), we will surely participate," he said.

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