India and Nepal step up efforts to ease cross-border trade stress

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Aug 12, 2018

India and Nepal are stepping up efforts to streamline the flow of goods across the border into the Himalayan nation that has been till now marred by restrictive routes and logistical hurdles.

The solutions being considered are India-funded integrated checkposts and even new rail routes to beat the kilometre-long lines of trucks at the India-Nepal border. The need for better access will grow with the Nepalese government recently announcing a forward-looking vision to phase out the sale of petrol/diesel-run vehicles by 2030.

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RCEP trade ministers to meet on Aug 30-31 in Singapore

Source: The Economic Times, Aug 12, 2018

Trade ministers of RCEP member countries, including India and China, will hold a crucial meeting in Singapore on August 30-31, an official said. The meeting is important as the 16-member bloc now needs specific political guidance to move the negotiations further, the official added.

RCEP mega trade pact aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) bloc comprises 10 Asean members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their six FTA partners – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The meeting also assumes significance as the member countries are not moving at a healthy pace even as the negotiation for the deal started in November 2012. The 23rd round of the negotiation was recently concluded without much progress in Bangkok.

India is also holding comprehensive stakeholder consultations with industry as well as different ministries and departments on the pact as the grouping includes China, with which India has a huge trade deficit.

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India, Vietnam can boost cooperation in oil and gas sector, says MoS VK Singh

Source: Financial Express, Jul 26, 2018

There is scope for India and Vietnam to deepen cooperation in the oil and gas sector despite “all the troubles” the Southeast Asian country faces, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said today, in an oblique reference to Vietnam’s disputes with China. There was also great potential to enhance cooperation in the pharmaceutical and the healthcare sectors, especially in the wake of the government’s implementation of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, or the National Health Protection Mission, Singh said at a conference on strengthening India-Vietnam economic ties.

“There is a scope for (expanding cooperation in) oil and gas despite all the troubles that Vietnam faces in East Vietnam Sea if I can put it that way. There is scope out there for India…we are already there, there are certain problem areas. “I am sure those problem areas will get sorted out and Vietnam can reap the benefits of the kind of deposits it has,” Singh said, in an oblique reference to Vietnam’s disputes with China in the South China Sea.

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India extends $200 million lines of credit for Rwanda economic development

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Jul 24, 2018

Kigali: India has extended $200 million lines of credit to Rwanda for its economic development, signed a defence cooperation agreement and will soon open a High Commission here as part of New Delhi’s efforts to bolster the strategic partnership with the fast-developing East African country.

The announcements came during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Rwanda, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to the country. After his one-on-one talks with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, Modi announced that India will soon open its mission in Rwanda.

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India urged to seal trade pact with S-E Asian nations

Source:, Jul 19, 2018

New Delhi: Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday prodded India to speedily conclude a regional trade pact with South-East Asian countries and its partners in East Asia, including China, against the backdrop of a pushback against free flowing trade by some countries.

The economic benefits of such a deal were real given that India and the South-East Asian grouping were estimated to have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.8 trillion-4.5 trillion, Balakrishnan said at the Delhi Dialogue that brings together governments and think tanks from India and the 10 Asean countries.

“South-East Asia and India hold tremendous potential that can be unlocked through further integration,” Balakrishnan said. “When there is a pushback against trade liberalization in some of the more advanced parts of the world, it is all the more important for India and the Asean to double down on the course of free trade. Specifically at this time, we need to work towards the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and hopefully do so by the end of this year,” he said, adding that the talks offered the opportunity to create the world’s largest trading bloc. Read the rest of this entry »

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Indonesia

Source:, Jul 19, 2018

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), India and National Agency for Drug and Food Control (BPOM), Indonesia on cooperation in the field of pharmaceutical products, pharmaceutical substances, biological product and cosmetics regulatory functions. The MoU was on signed on 29th May, 2018 in Jakarta.

The MoU is expected to forge better understanding about each other’s regulatory requirements and would be beneficial to both the countries. It could also facilitate India’s export of pharmaceutical products. Read the rest of this entry »

Indian mangoes, beer, yoga to get free access to South Korean market

download.jpgSource: The Economic Times, Jul 13, 2018

As many as 17 Indian products, including mangoes and beer, will get free access to the South Korean market, a move that would help bridge the trade gap between the two countries, an official said today.

Besides, it has also been agreed that South Korea would permit Indians to set up yoga training institutes and send yoga trainers, while the Korean would do the same for Taekwondo.

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