KAMAL NATH INVITES FDI FROM ASEAN
Date : 19 Oct 2004
Location : New Delhi
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, today invited ASEAN companies to invest more in India, pointing out that the total flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India from the ASEAN countries during the last decade has been around US $ 4 billion, but this has been restricted mainly to free countries, namely, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Addressing the Plenary Session of India-ASEAN Economic Partnership, Shri Kamal Nath underlined that trade and investment were the twin basic building blocks of the India-ASEAN relationship and said he was happy that ASEAN companies were participating in India’s ambitious infrastructure development programme. "We have accorded infrastructure development the highest priority. We estimate that we would require an investment of 150 billion dollars over the next five years – 75 billion in power, 25 billion in telecom and 50 billion in airports, seaports and roads… In addition to investments, we also welcome technological inputs in the modernisation and expansion of our infrastructure and industry", he said.
Referring to the Bill to be introduced in Parliament on Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Shri Kamal Nath pointed out that the Bill would cover Bio-technology Parks and Free Trade and Warehousing Zones and in all these, FDI upto 100% would be permitted, including in the real estate development and establishment of the Zones. "We see the Special Economic Zones as hubs of manufacturing and Free Trade and Warehousing Zones as trading hubs", he said. He also underlined the potential of India’s telecom sector as well as India’s manufacturing skills in precision and high-tech sectors such as high quality auto components.
Regarding the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between India and the ASEAN aimed at an eventual Free Trade Area covering trade in goods, services and investment within a fixed time frame, Shri Kamal Nath said: "We have been making concerted efforts to give the finishing touches to our Early Harvest Programme consisting of an agreed common list of items for tariff concessions on a fast track basis, and also other areas of economic cooperation. At Jakarta we made a commitment to complete negotiations swiftly on the EHP and bring into force from 1st January, 2005 since we see it not only as a confidence building measure but also as a commercial instrument which will bestow upon all of us a substantial level of economic benefit, and would be a precursor of things to come".