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Posted: February 16, 2008
India-Japan trade to treble in three years
(Nanowerk News) India-Japan trade is set to treble in three years, according to Indian Ambassador to US Ronen Sen.
India and Japan have set a trade turnover target of $20 billion by 2010, up from last year's figure of about $7.5 billion, in which Japan enjoyed a trade surplus of $1.7 billion, Sen said in his address to the Japan Society here Friday.
"Recently there has been movement towards overcoming the stagnation of India-Japan trade which was witnessed in the late 90s," he said, adding that the two countries are working on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
Pointing out that Japan is currently India's third largest source of FDI ($2.6 billion since 1991), Sen said the potential for FDI is much more. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation has ranked India as the most promising overseas investment destination for Japanese companies over the long term.
India is the largest recipient of Japanese official development assistance (ODA), accounting for 23 percent of Japan's global ODA, the ambassador stated.
After Japan assisted India in key projects like Delhi Metro, the two countries are discussing cooperation on the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project and dedicated freight corridor projects on the Mumbai-Delhi and the Delhi-Howrah routes, he added.
Speaking on the topic of 'India-Japan-US Economic, Trade and Diplomatic Ties', Sen also stressed on further development of trilateral cooperation.
He said India, Japan and the US are all democratic countries, which recognise that "democracy and development are not only compatible, but inextricably linked, and that free markets are most sustainable in free societies".
The three countries can harness high technologies for socio-economic development through mutually beneficial cooperation, he added.
While referring to the US as the world's greatest centre of innovation, Sen said Japan excelled in modern technologies and India has a large and growing pool of talented technical manpower.
Talking about the US-India agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation, Sen said "its successful conclusion would give additional momentum to cooperation in other areas of high technology, including biotechnology, nanotechnology and defence technologies".
India also has ongoing space collaboration with both the US and Japan, Sen said.
He added that all three countries also have convergence of interests on developing new, renewable and clean sources of energy as well as on counter-terrorism.
The shared interests of the three countries find a reflection in multilateral institutions, Sen said.
Giving examples, he said: "India and Japan have staked their rightful claim to permanent membership of the UN Security Council. India, Japan and the US are full Dialogue Partners of ASEAN and members of the ASEAN Regional Forum."
India and Japan also work together in forums like the East Asia Summit and Asia-Europe Meeting. Both Japan and the US were observers at the SAARC summit in New Delhi in April 2007, Sen added.
The luncheon meeting with Sen was presided over by the president of the Japan Society, Richard Wood, and the chairman of the India Policy Forum, Bal Das.
Indian Consul General Neelam Deo and Japanese Consul General Motoatsu Sakurai also attended event.
Among those present were many senior Japanese corporate representatives. They included Yoshikazu Takeda, managing director (the Americas and Europe), Nippon Life Insurance Company; Eiichi Ishii, CEO, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America; Shigeru Hayakawa, president, Toyota Motor (North America); and Michihisa Shinagawa, CEO, Sumitomo Corporation of America.
A few "good American friends of Japan and India", to use Sen's words, were also in the audience. They included James McDonald, CEO, Rockefeller & Co.; Frank Wisner, vice chairman (external affairs), American International Group; George Warnock, partner-in-charge audit, Deloitte & Touche; and John Brademas, president emeritus, New York University.
Sen, who has been posted in Washington since 2004, completes his assignment by the end of next month.