India To Commence Negotiations On Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade
Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the preparations for launching official negotiations between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and India on a free trade deal were complete.
“To date, all the necessary procedures have been completed to start official negotiations to conclude an agreement between the EEU and India on the creation of a free trade area. The early launch of the relevant negotiation process will be an important step on the path for cooperation between India and the EAEU.” Lavrov said at a press conference after talks with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
The EAEU is a free trade bloc that includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. It has a population of 183 million and an annual GDP (PPP) of US$5 trillion. Effectively sited between China and the European Union, it is intended to become a large trade area that will service both West and East Eurasia. The EAEU has existing FTA with Vietnam and Serbia, with Singapore about to sign off a deal and Cambodia also commencing negotiations. Chian has an FTA with the EAEU however this is currently non preferential – negotiations are on-going concerning tariffs.
An Indian FTA with the EAEU will boost bilateral trade between India and Russia, and also reintroduce India to Central Asian markets. Existing Indian trade with Russia is about US$10 billion, with both sides wanting to increase this to US$30 billion by 2024. An FTA will also make full use of the North-South International Transport Corridor which links Mumbai to Iran’s Chabahar Port and heads east to Afghanistan and north to Azerbaijan and Russia.
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