India-Israel FTA: Next round of talks in Jan

India-Israel FTA: Next round of talks in Jan New Delhi: India and Israel will hold in January another round of negotiations for the proposed free trade agreement, a move which would increase bilateral commerce and investment between the countries, Parliament was informed Wednesday.

"So far five rounds of negotiations have been held. The next round of negotiations is scheduled to be held from 20th to 23rd January, 2013," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

The pact is aimed at liberalising trade in goods and services, besides facilitating investments.

The bilateral trade between the nations stood at over USD 6.61 billion in 2011-12.

The minister said in view of the continuing global economic slowdown, the volume of trade between the countries may touch only USD 6 billion.

Trade between the countries includes diamonds, chemicals, machinery, IT and agro-technologies.

In a reply to a question, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D Purandeswari said reports have been received on seizure of conflict diamonds by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence at some places in India including Surat and Mumbai.

"India, being a member of the Kimberley Process Certification (KPC) Scheme has developed a system of internal controls to eliminate presence of conflict diamonds," she said.

She added that trading in rough diamonds with a non-participant is not allowed under the Scheme and all exports of rough diamonds have to be accompanied by a valid KPC stating that diamonds are conflict free.

In a reply to another question, Purandeswari said there are 110 countries wherein India's export has been more than imports during the last three years.

PTI