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PM sets store by pan-Asian FTA

Our Bureau

Mumbai, March 18

Pan Asian FTA (free trade agreement) could be the future of Asia, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said at the Asian Corporate Conference here on Saturday.

"We have concluded free trade agreements with SAARC, Singapore, Thailand and Asean. We are working on similar arrangement with Japan, China and Korea,'' Dr Singh said. This web of engagements may herald free trade area in Asia covering all major economies and possibly extending to Australia and New Zealand. Dr Singh acknowledged that India needs to reduce the transaction cost of doing business in the country and to bring its infrastructure in line with global standards. "Power is one area where critical gaps persist,'' he said.

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