NEW DELHI, Aug 3 (PTI): India and Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have not been able to formalise a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) owing to differences on the negative list, Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament, was told yesterday.
Assuring that India's interest would not be compromised, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said during question hour that the government was looking into items that could be allowed for import.
He said the discussion on formulating the FTA with ASEAN countries had been going on for the past two years but the negative list proposed by India has not been acceptable to the ASEAN.
Nath said the government is determining what would harm the interest of local farmers and local industry and would protect the interest of the nation before the FTA is signed.
The Minister told Sitaram Yechuri (CPI-M) that the agreement would lead to investments and enhanced trade.
On the FTA with Nepal, Nath said the India-Nepal treaty on transit and trade has been in force since 1950 and is revised from time to time.
He said the current treaty with Nepal is effective from March 6, 2002.
On the agreement with Sri Lanka, he said the India-Sri Lanka Treaty came into force from March 1, 2000 and both the treaties allowed import of vanaspati into India duty free.
The minister said there was an import ceiling of one lakh tonnes of vanaspati annually from Nepal, while the import of vanaspati from Sri Lanka has been canalised recently.