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India, Eurasian Economic Union bloc officials hold talks to formally start negotiation for FTA

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New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) Senior officials of India and the five-nation Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) bloc held detailed discussions last month to formally start negotiations for a free trade agreement to boost economic ties, an official said.

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The five members of the EEU are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

The official said two feasibility studies have already been conducted on the proposed agreement.

In such agreements, two or more trading partners either eliminate or significantly reduce customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. These agreements provide greater market access to Indian goods and services.

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"Senior officers of both sides have met on March 28 here and have discussed formally starting talks for the FTA," the official said.

An industry expert said domestic exporters from sectors like engineering goods, electronics and agriculture can get an edge from the agreement.

Russia is the top trading partner of India in the bloc, with bilateral trade worth USD 49.4 billion in FY23. India's exports to Russia stood at USD 1.14 billion in 2022-23, while imports were USD 46.2 billion due to an increase in crude oil imports.

The bilateral trade with Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan was USD 134.26 million, USD 111.81 million, USD 641.62 million, and USD 56.56 million, respectively, in 2022-23.

A similar agreement was signed by India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The members of this bloc are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. PTI RR BAL BAL

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